Carl Nassib has spoken publicly for the first time since coming out as gay last month, saying his NFL teammates have shown him “nothing but love and support.”
Nassib will likely become the first active, out gay NFL player when he takes to the field as a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders this fall.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Nassib said he was “definitely surprised by the big reaction” to his coming out video, calling it “incredible,” LGBTQ Nation reports.
“I thought nobody would care,” he said. “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 came out in June, in a video posted to his Instagram, telling his followers, “I just want 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,” he said. “I really have the best life. I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I’m not doing this for attention, but I think representation matters.”
Last week’s press conference marked the first time Nassib has spoken publicly about his sexuality, after asking the media to “give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life.”
Nassib clarified that “very few” people in the NFL knew about his sexuality, but that he told his Las Vegas Raiders coaches prior to posting the video 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,” he said.
Asked about his teammates’ reaction to the video, Nassib said it had been “great.”
“I knew it was gonna be good, I had zero stress about that. Absolutely no worries about it,” he said. “I’ve got a great locker room, great teammates. I’ve been met with nothing but love and support. It’s been incredible.”
He added: “Football players get a bad rap, but we’re humble, hard-working, accepting people, and this was a great example of that, definitely.”
Nassib said that despite being out to his friends and family for “years,” coming out publicly had been “a great weight off my shoulders…. It’s been good to not have to lie when I come in to work every day and, yeah, it’s been good.”
At the time of his coming out video, Nassib pledged to donate $100,000 to LGBTQ youth-focused crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project. He told reporters he was “glad that the Trevor Project got so much love and support through just a 60-second video.”
“I hope I’ve helped people,” Nassib said. “That’s why you go through life, to try to help people as much as you can. I hope, that’d be awesome.”
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