NFL Stars Praise Carl Nassib for Coming Out As Gay: 'We're Proud of You'

The Las Vegas Raiders and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said they were "proud" of Carl Nassib's decision to become the first professional football player to announce himself as gay.

The Raiders defensive end shared the news via a video he posted on Instagram on Monday, saying he hoped the gesture would increase awareness of the LGBTQ community during Pride Month.

"What's up people? I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," the 28-year-old said.

"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've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for."

"It's 2021. All the more power to Carl," Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.

"It doesn't change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider."

The Raiders shared Nassib's post via their Twitter account, with the message: "Proud of you, Carl" accompanied by a black heart emoji.

Proud of you, Carl 🖤

— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) June 21, 2021

Goodell and the NFL struck a similar tone.

"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters," a statement released on the commissioner's behalf read.

"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."

The announcement was immediately met by widespread support, ranging from the Raiders and the NFL, to other teams and several of Nassib's colleagues.

The Los Angeles Chargers retweeted the Raiders' post with a message reading: "Some things are bigger than a rivalry."

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Houston Texans linebacker Tae Davis also tweeted out messages of support for the Raiders defensive end.

Much respect brudda ✊🏾

— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) June 21, 2021

Three-time Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon and three-time NFL All Pro Shawne Merriman were among the former players paying tribute to Nassib.

"Awesome project. Spreading the love to the Trevor Project, very classy move," Edelman tweeted.

Awesome moment. Spreading the love to the @TrevorProject very classy move. ❤️

— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) June 21, 2021

In his video, Nassib, a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, pledged to donate $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that suicide prevention services and crisis intervention for the LGBTQ+ community.

"They're an incredible organization, they're the No. 1 suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America," Nassib said. "And they're truly doing incredible things. And I'm very excited to be a part of it, help in any way that I can."

"Really proud of Carl Nassib," Moon tweeted.

"The first active football player to ever do so. I played with several guys who never were comfortable enough to go public. They were great teammates, and obviously very talented.

"As long as they helped us win and were great teammates- their sexual preference was never a issue..

We live in a different time now where diversity is much more accepted. Cheers Carl, and I hope this lets other athletes know, its OK to say who you are."

As long as they helped us win and were great teammates- their sexual preference was never a issue..

We live in a different time now where diversity is much more accepted. Cheers Carl, and I hope this lets other athletes know, its OK to say who you are...👏🏽

— Warren Moon (@WMoon1) June 22, 2021

Penn State coach James Franklin, who coached Nassib in college, pledged to donate $10,000 to The Trevor Project and spoke of his admiration for his former player.

"I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice," he said in a statement.

"This announcement doesn't surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl's story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play.

"His care and love for those around him, particularly this in need, has always been obvious. His generosity and advocacy for The Trevor Project is yet another shining example of his huge heart."

Representation matters. Thank you Carl Nassib for your incredible courage.

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 21, 2021

Support for Nassib spread far beyond football's traditional boundaries. California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised Nassib's "incredible courage," while NBA veteran Jason Collins and Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, both tweeted their support

"Proud to support Carl and his decision to come out as the first active gay player in the NFL," Burke wrote.

"I hope other sports executives will join me in publicly expressing their support as well."

Tennis great Billie Jean King, who has long been an advocate for social causes, added: "The ability to live an authentic life is so important. Sending love and support to Carl Nassib."

Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders
Carl Nassib #94 of the Las Vegas Raiders during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images