Former Penn State Defensive End Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out As Gay

By Matthew Filipovits on June 21, 2021 at 7:30 pm
Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib has come out as gay, making him the first active out player in the history of the National Football League.


A post shared by Carl Nassib (@carlnassib)


Nassib made the announcement on his Instagram account, where he also pledged $100,000 to The Trevor Project and included the following message:

Hey everyone, happy Pride Month. Right now, I am sitting in a moment of gratitude and relief. 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. I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches, and fellow players for all their support. I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.

I truly love my life and cannot understand why I have been blessed with so much. I feel especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before - any many even now - do not. I stand on the shoulder of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity. 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.

As I mentioned in my video message, I am partnering with The Trevor Project. I was immediately drawn to The Trevor Project when I learned about their mission to provide suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. Young LGBTQ kids are over 5x more likely than their straight friends to consider suicide. For someone like me, who has been so lucky and cherishes every day, it brings me incredible sadness to think that our LGBTQ youth are at such an elevated risk for suicide. I feel an immense responsibility to help in any way I can - and you can too. Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you're a friend, a parent, a coach, or a teammate - you can be that person." 

Nassib came to Penn State as a walk-on and played sparingly early in his career before blossoming as an upperclassman. He was an All-American and won the Ted Hendricks Award in 2015 after setting a program single-season record with 15.5 sacks. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft and most recently inked a three-year, $25 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. To learn more about The Trevor Project or make a donation you can visit