Carl Nassib came out as the first openly gay and active National Football League player. His unlikely rise to be a starting caliber NFL player – and the number one selling jersey in the league – serves as an inspiration for equality.
Coming out is becoming more common in sports leagues.
Forty-six years ago, David Kopay of the NFL was the first prominent professional athlete to “come out”, which he did after retirement. In fact, according to OutSports, there has been a total of 16 LGBTQ+ athletes who have made the announcement after retiring.
Nassib is the first athlete to come out during the prime of his career, and the reactions from the league have been positive.
Several players and the league commissioner voiced their respect and offered support to Nassib through social media. The NFL embraced him and released a commercial saying “Football is For Everyone.” In the commercial the NFL voiced its support for the Trevor Project, an organization that works to prevent suicide amongst LGBTQ+ youth in America.
Carl Nassib stands as a symbol that you can achieve your dream at the same time as being authentically true to yourself, while the NFL’s response highlights the progression of acceptance by the private sector and cultural leaders.