Carl Nassib is speaking out for the first time since coming out as the first openly gay active NFL player.
The defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders spoke at a press conference on Friday. This was the first time he spoke publicly since coming out in June. At the time, the athlete asked that the media, “give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life” and told reporters to not “take it personally if I decline an interview or am unable to answer your questions.”
Now, Nassib took the time to talk about his coming out through the press conference.
“I was definitely surprised by the big reaction. It was incredible,” Nassib said of the moment. “I thought nobody would care. But it was such a good feeling to have all the support. I was glad I could do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community.”
Nassib also talked about how many people knew about his sexual orientation within the football industry.
“Very few,” he confessed. “Friends around the league knew.”
He went further to explain the process of his coming out.
He said, “I went to the coaches, made sure that they — I wanted to give them a chance to kind of digest, help me in the process. Then I went home, [because I] felt like I wanted to be around family and friends at home to make the announcement.”
Nassib also shared that he did not warn his teammates about his coming-out announcement. But, he was confident that they would be accepting of him. And it turns out, he was right.
“It’s been great. I knew it was gonna be good, I had zero stress about that. Absolutely no worries about it,” he explained. “I’ve got a great locker room, great teammates. I’ve been met with nothing but love and support. It’s been incredible… Football players get a bad rap, but we’re humble, hard-working, accepting people, and this was a great example of that, definitely.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr confirmed this by saying that Carl Nassib has not been treated differently since he came out. Speaking to ESPN, Carr shared his perspective of Nassib’s coming out.
“When he came in [the locker room], I just like to watch, and not one person, from my point of view, has treated him any different,” Carr said. “He may have a different story; I don’t know. I don’t know what his story is.”
Carr then added, “But from my point of view – his locker is just a few down from mine – and 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.”
It seems that Carl Nassib’s coming out has been welcomed without pushback. When asked how he feels about preparing for his first NFL season as an out player, Nassib said, “It’s been a great weight off my shoulders.”