PRIDE SUNDAY: Why Carl Nassib coming out as gay is a big deal
Nassib, a defensive end for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, is the first active-roster NFL player to come out as gay.
Carl Nassib is not the first NFL player to come out as gay. There have been numerous football players at various levels of the sport to come out as gay. Michael Sam was the first NFL player to be drafted, and play a preseason game, after coming out as gay, but Sam was cut by the St. Louis Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams), and he never played a single regular-season game in the NFL.
However, Nassib came out as gay after his first year of a three-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, and, if he were to play a regular-season game, he would be the first openly gay man in the NFL to do so.
Nassib coming out as gay is a big deal for the LGBTQIA+ community, especially LGBTQIA+ athletes. The NFL is the highest level of the most popular sport in the United States, gridiron football. Football is widely seen as a brutal and manly sport. Nassib’s coming-out story will do little, if anything, to change that. However, if Nassib were to play in a regular-season NFL game, that would go a long way to breaking the stigma of homosexuality in sports that are seen or perceived as manly.