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Nassib lauded as first active NFL player to come out as gay

One sports expert said, "I'm here to tell you is what they'll gain [by coming out of the closet] is their true self, their best self.

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib on Monday became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. 

Dawn Ennis, an LGBT sports expert and contributor to Forbes.com said, "He's a gay player and the more people who area gay and in of the closet across all sports can hopefully see this as a signal that it's ok to come out. 

Ennis said, "The reason this hasn't happened before is because people on both sides of the equation have warned player of what they'll loose. But I'm here to tell you is what they'll gain is their true self, their best self. How can you show up to work knowing you're not giving everything you've got? That's what being out is all about."

Nassib, who is entering his sixth NFL season and second with the Raiders, announced the news on Instagram, saying he wasn't doing it for the attention but because he felt representation and visibility were important.

"I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in his video message from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.

“I really have the best life. I got the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.”

Dawn Ennis, an LGBT sports expert and contributor to Forbes.com said, "He's a gay player and the more people who area gay and in of the closet across all sports can hopefully see this as a signal that it's ok to come out. 

Ennis said, "The reason this hasn't happened before is because people on both sides of the equation have warned player of what they'll loose. But I'm here to tell you is what they'll gain is their true self, their best self. How can you show up to work knowing you're not giving everything you've got? That's what being out is all about."

Nassib added in a written message that followed the video that he “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years” and only recently decided to go public with his sexuality after receiving the support of family and friends.

“I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches, and fellow players for their support,” Nassib wrote. “I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance."

Nassib, whose announcement came during Pride Month, added that he was donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that seeks to prevent suicides among LGBTQ youth.

“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” NFL Commissioner Roger 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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