Carl Nassib has become the first active NFL player to come out as gay, after he made the announcement in an Instagram video.
“What’s up, people. I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib, a defensive lineman, said in the video.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”
Nassib, 28, told his followers that he hoped that people would not have to make similar videos in the future and announced he was donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which aims to prevent suicide among LGBT+ youths.
“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,” he said.
“I actually hope that like 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, and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project.”
In an online written message, Nassib said he had “agonised over this moment for the last 15 years” and decided to go public with the support of his family and friends.
Nassib signed for the Raiders in 2020 on a three-year, $25m free-agent deal, with $16.75m of his money guaranteed.
The team’s official Twitter account posted a black heart symbol and said: “Proud of you, Carl.”
Last season he had 2.5 sacks and an interception in 14 games.
He was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, after playing his college career at Penn State, and has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Former New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman took to Twitter to congratulate Nassib.
“Awesome moment. Spreading the love to the Trevor Project very classy move,” tweeted Edelman.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also welcomed the announcement.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters,” said Mr Goodell.
“We share his hope that someday soon statements like this 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.”