Carl Nassib has officially kept his job with the Las Vegas Raiders.
In June, Carl Nassib made NFL history by becoming the first gay man to come out while actively playing in the league. He also used his coming out to promote the Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on the suicide prevention of LGBTQ people and specifically LGBTQ youth. Nassib even donated $100,000 to the charity and community support group.
Thankfully, Nassib’s current team, the Las Vegas Raiders, has been fully supportive of him since he came out. And now, they’ve confirmed that by keeping him on the team. According to OutSports, Nassib has made the final roster for the Las Vegas Raiders. This makes him the first openly gay athlete to play in a regular-season game.
So, ultimately, the 28-year-old starting defensive end with six years in the NFL under his belt kept his job. Is that exciting news? Yes, considering the circumstances.
When Michael Sam came out in 2014, he became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. Sam went on to appear in several preseason games before later being cut by the St. Louis Rams. After attempting to make it into the Dallas Cowboys, and later being waived for linebacker Troy Davis, Sam transitioned into playing for Canada’s football league in 2015. He became the first openly gay player in that league’s history, but then retired a few months later due to mental health issues.
With that history in mind, the fact that Carl Nassib has stayed on with the Las Vegas Raiders is a triumph. That and the fact that Nassib’s performance for the team has been all but stellar. Despite signing a three-year deal with $16.7 million guaranteed, Nassib only had 2.5 sacks and five tackles in the past season, according to Raiders Wire. This led to a readjustment to his contract (prior to Nassib’s coming out) and even getting benched in 2020, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last year.
But it seems that past issues or not, Nassib has the backing of his teammates. After coming out, Carl Nassib shared that he was touched by the support and brotherhood he felt with his teammates.
“We’ve got a great locker room, great teammates,” Nassib said. “I’ve been met with nothing but love and support. It has been incredible. Football players get a bad wrap. But we’re humble, hard-working, accepting people. This was a great example of that.”
This is a viewpoint that quarterback Derek Carr shared in his own statement post-Nassib’s coming out.
“Not one person, from my point of view, has treated him any different,” quarterback Derek Carr told ESPN in August, at the beginning of the league’s preseason. “I just want to make sure that he knows that, man, we just want him to play as hard as he can so we can win a Super Bowl. That’s what we’re here to do.”
We’re excited to see how Carl Nassib fairs in the upcoming football season. Will he get more support than Michael Sam did? Will he have overcome his issues from the past season? We’ll see soon.