Carl Nassib broke barriers on Monday by becoming the first active NFL player to publicly share that he is gay. The Raiders defensive end came out on his Instagram with a simple but powerful message, and it didn't take long for people to reach out with support of Nassib's decision to share his authentic self with the world.
While Nassib is not the first gay NFL player, he is the first to announce while playing in the league. Michael Sam was the first gay player to be drafted in 2014, and after Sam, retired NFL players like former Patriots Ryan O'Callaghan and Wade Davis felt comfortable enough to share that piece of themselves with the world, as well.
In his statement, Nassib said he was lucky to live the life he has, but the decision to share this publicly was a difficult one.
"Right now, I am sitting in a moment of gratitude and relief," he wrote. "Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years. Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends, especially Connor, Cason, and Francis, did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I'm gay."
Nassib's announcement included a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, and on Tuesday, the NFL shared its intention to match that donation with OutSports.
Voices from around league were quick to show him love and support, including people like Billie Jean King, Dwyane Wade, "Queer Eye's" Bobby Berk and Billy Eichner.
That support also included Julian Edelman.
Edelman shared Nassib's post on his Instagram story, as well as on Twitter. "Awesome moment," Edelman wrote. "Spreading love to the @TrevorProject very classy move."
The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ people under the age of 25. According to the organization's website, "LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth." The Trevor Project is, quite literally, saving lives.
For Nassib to take this deeply personal moment to shine a light on The Trevor Project's work is huge in and of itself. In addition, Nassib's decision will only help further acceptance across the league and give folks in the LGBTQIA+ community another role model.
You can learn more about or donate to the Trevor Project here.