Carl Nassib, who became the first out active player in the NFL in June 2021, shares in a new interview that he came out because he “definitely didn’t want to be outed” and wanted to control his own narrative.
And that’s exactly what he did. In the short video, the football veteran got the point quickly telling fans:
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, the best family, friends, and job a guy can ask for.”
But then he quickly pivoted the conversation to The Trevor Project, which provides support for at-risk LGBTQ youth, and announced he was donating $100,000 to the group. Daily donations to the organization doubled that week, plus the NFL announced it was matching Nassib’s $100K donation.
“To be the first out player in a game and then to win. That’s sick, that’s fucking cool. But I go out with the same mentality every game, just trying to beat the shit out of the team across from me." https://t.co/C7bcv385iP
— Men's Health Mag (@MensHealthMag) October 11, 2022
Speaking to Mickey Rapkin for Men’s Health, Nassib admits that when he made his announcement via Instagram, he expected the experience to be stressful.
“When I came out,” Nassib shared with Rapkin, “it was like, this is gonna f**king suck. Because all anyone’s gonna remember about me is that I’m gay.”
But timing is everything. And in his first game after coming out, with over 15 million people watching, Nassib flipped the script on any naysayers by forcing a fumble in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens. His play led to the game-winning touchdown.
Smiling for the cameras at the post-game press conference, Nassib told reporters, “Lot of firsts today. No one blinked It was awesome. It was a great team win for sure.”
The Carl Nassib forced fumble that set up the Raiders' game-winner TD 💪
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 14, 2021
Thinking back to that game, Nassib says, “I felt really lucky that I could be on a big stage and, like, make a good play while representing the community. To be the first out player in a game and then to win. That’s sick, that’s f**king cool.”
But the 29-year-old stresses he hews to the same mentality every game – “Just trying to beat the sh*t out of the team across from me. My whole thing is – I’m a football player who is gay.”
When Nassib was released this Spring by the Las Vegas Raiders after only two years of a three year $25 million contract (due to salary caps), some wondered if other teams would pick up the only out NFL player. And the answer was yes. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who he’d played two seasons for prior to the Raiders) offered him a $1.035 million contract plus $152,000 signing bonus.
And so, the seven-year NFL veteran is back in Florida, and his focus is on helping his team win. He tells Men’s Health he now sees his coming out as “old news,” and adds, “I’m ready to be a football player again.”
“Doing interviews like this is not my favorite thing,” he explains. “I don’t want to ever feel like, Oh, I’m hiding from something. I’m not hiding from shit. It just doesn’t seem like a valuable use of my time.”
In fact, the defensive lineman says the number one reason why he’s even done the few interviews about his being gay is “to keep the conversation going about The Trevor Project.”
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