Carl Nassib, a player for the Las Vegas Raiders, made American football history by becoming the first NFL player to reveal his homosexuality on Monday, in the midst of pride month in the United States.
“I just wanted to take a moment to say I’m gay”, he said in a video shot from a sunny garden and posted on Instagram.
“It’s been a while since I thought about doing this but I finally feel comfortable enough to take the weight off my shoulders”, explains the 28-year-old defensive end, who is the first active player on a professional American football league team to come out. Several players have come out after retiring from the sport, the most watched in the United States.
Watch his statement on video:
In 2014, a university championship player, Michael Sam, was selected by the St. Louis Rams, the NFL team in Los Angeles, after revealing his homosexuality. But he had been released from his contract after playing a few preseason games and never made it to regular season games in the NFL.
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Carl Nassib has already played five NFL seasons and joined the Raiders after passing through two other teams, the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Buccaneers. His contract in Las Vegas runs until 2022.
A donation of $ 100,000 for an NGO
The young man said he hoped his example would make other gay athletes more visible.
“I’m a rather private person so I hope you understand I’m not doing this to attract attention.” I just believe that representation and visibility (of the LGBTQ community) is so important ”, he confided.
“Besides, I hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are no longer necessary, but until then I will do my best to develop a culture of tolerance and compassion.” “, he added.
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In his video, Carl Nassib also announces donating $ 100,000 to The Trevor Project, an NGO for suicide prevention among young people from the LGBTQ community in the United States.
On Monday, the Raiders praised Carl Nassib’s move, saying “Proud” of their player on the same social network.
League boss Roger Goodell imitated them in a statement: “The NFL family are proud of Carl, who bravely shared his truth today. ” ” Well done “, also launched Wade Davis II, who is one of the handful of former NFL players who have revealed their homosexuality after retirement.
“A strong message”
The coming out of the defensive player from Las Vegas comes during the “Pride month”, which celebrates the rights of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) people every June in the United States.
Sarah Kate Ellis, Executive Director of GLAAD (“Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation”), highlighted “The profound impact on the acceptance of LGBTQ in sport” resulting from this announcement.
“(Nassib) sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially young people, that they too may one day grow up to be and be successful as a professional athlete like him. ““We thought of ‘Love, Victor’ as a loophole in which the young gay audience could take refuge”
Nassib’s speech contrasts with the country’s political climate, at a time when many republican American states have adopted measures limiting the rights of transgender people.
In a written message accompanying his video, he confided the “Torments” endured “During the last 15 years”, until he manages to muster the courage to come out, thanks to the support of those close to him.
“I really have the best life, the best family, the best friends and the best job a guy could dream of”, said the player. “Come on the Raiders. “