Nassib made the announcement in a candid video posted to his Instagram account on Monday, saying: “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 I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”
Nassib continued by saying that he hopes coming out publicly eventually won’t be necessary for those in the LGBTQ+ community, but that he decided to do so to promote acceptance.
“I really have the best life, I have the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” Nassib said. “I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Nassib also announced that he is donating $100,000 to the LGBTQ+ suicide prevention organization the Trevor Project, and encouraged his followers to donate, too, if they are able.
“They’re an incredible organization, they’re the No. 1 suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America, and they’re truly doing incredible things,” Nassib said. “I’m very excited to be a part of it to help in anyway that I can, and I’m really pumped for what the future holds.”
Nassib continued his message with a statement following the video, in which he revealed that he has “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.”
“I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity,” Nassib wrote. “I do not know all the history behind our courageous LGBTQ community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.”
In 2014, Michael Sam became the first-ever openly gay player drafted by a NFL team, whereas Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
In his cover story for Variety, former NFL player and Bachelor star Colton Underwood reflected on the difficulty of coming out in the sports world, and why he regrets not coming out after Sam’s historic moment.
“I’ve had a conversation with Michael about this, since I came out. I just sort of had a heart-to-heart with him,” Underwood said. “I said, ‘I just want to let you know that you should have given me the confidence to stand up and say, ‘You’re not alone.’”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also praised Nassib in a statement of support.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters,” Goodell wrote. “We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”