Carl Nassib made NFL history on Monday when he came out to the world as a gay man. He was the first active NFL player to do such a thing. While an announcement like that would’ve been controversial years ago, Nassib has received an outpouring of support.
“I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great,” Gruden told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.
Nassib has certainly set himself apart from other players in the NFL. Owner Mark Davis also had a chance to chime in on the announcement.
“It’s cool,” Davis told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “It’s 2021. We brought [Michael] Sam in here for a workout. Nothing new. It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider.”
Davis’ father Al was a trailblazer when it came to disregarding NFL norms. The league hasn’t always been on top of issues that could be deemed political. However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was quick to issue a statement regarding Nassib.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Goodell said in a statement. “Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his 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.”
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Bo Jackson & Raiders Players Offer Supper to Nassib
Nassib making the decision to come out was certainly not easy. If that was the case, he would’ve done it years ago. While there will always be fans that come out against Nassib’s announcement, he’s received a strong outpouring of support. Among the many to reach out to the defensive end was Raiders legendary running back Bo Jackson, who expressed support.
Some of Nassib’s teammates also came out and offered kind words.
“That’s my brother,” defensive end Clelin Ferrell told Tafur. “We got his back 100 percent. This year will be special.”
“I support him,” defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins also told Tafur. “That’s my brother.”
Ferrell and Hankins spend a lot of time with Nassib considering they’re part of the same position group. It’s notable that they’d immediately come out in support of their teammate. Fellow Penn State alum and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley also sent his support to Nassib.
Turning Point for NFL?
The reaction to Nassib has been overwhelmingly positive. However, that wouldn’t have always been the case. The Raiders defensive end certainly isn’t the first active gay NFL player, he’s just the first to come out. Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon made it known that he played with several men who were gay but refused to come out. Moon was happy to see Nassib show unprecedented courage.
With Nassib breaking ground, it could open up the door for many more athletes to come out. It obviously won’t happen overnight but there’s now a precedent for a gay player to be accepted in the NFL. Nassib won’t be the last to make this type of announcement.