Only Openly Gay NFL Player Takes Personal Day After Gruden's Homophobic Emails Revealed

Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib, the only out gay NFL player, has taken a personal day after the homophobic emails of his former coach, Jon Gruden, were revealed.

Nassib, who plays defensive end for the team, took a personal day away from the team on Wednesday, according to the team's general manager Mike Mayock.

"Let's be honest, [Nassib is] a community of one that's openly gay," Mayock told reporters. "He just said he's got a lot to process. There's a lot that's been going on the last few days. And of course, we support that request."

gay NFL Carl Nassib Jon Gruden homophobic
Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib, the only out gay NFL player, has taken a personal day after the homophobic emails of his former coach, Jon Gruden, were revealed. In this photo, Nassib reacts after the Los Angeles Chargers score during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty

Nassib's teammate, tight end Darren Waller, said he also supports Nassib's need to take time away in light of Gruden's homophobic, misogynist and racist emails.

"[Nassib is] pretty much a lone wolf when it comes to [being openly gay]," Waller said. "Nobody should be able to tell him how to feel. Nobody should be able to tell him how to grieve. He deserves to take time for himself because that's a lot to process."

"Somebody that you've been invested in, battled with and you come out and there's a quote that says something like what was said, I can't imagine what he must be feeling and I respect him wanting to take his space and be able to come back clear-headed," Waller added.

Gruden resigned on October 11 after The New York Times reported on offensive emails he sent Bruce Allen, former president of the Washington Football Team, during his time as an ESPN analyst.

In his emails, Gruden called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a "f**got" and also a "clueless anti-football p**sy." In another email, Gruden referred to openly gay football player Michael Sam as "a queer." Gruden also wrote that DeMaurice Smith, the Black executive director of the NFL Players Association, had "lips the size of michellin tires," a racist trope insulting Black people's bodies.

Gruden announced his resignation in a tweet published Monday night.

"I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders," he wrote. "I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."

During the Wednesday press conference, Mayock said that his team also has a "large community of African-American players." He said that he and other team officials have been trying to have conversations with those players to understand their needs at this time.

Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of the LGBTQ sports website Outsports, wrote, "I can only imagine the onslaught of requests Nassib has received to talk about Gruden's slurs...I take some solace in knowing he has a boyfriend, someone who can hopefully listen to him and help him through this tough time."

"I look for hope to some of his teammates, who have expressed pride in him. And I hope Mark Davis, the owner of the team, reaches out and offers two ears to listen. Davis' family has staked its reputation on values of inclusion and diversity, and there are probably few people in the NFL more equipped to listen than the owner of Nassib's team," Zeigler added.

Nassib came out as gay in June. In his coming-out message, he said he wasn't coming out for attention. He said he believes that representation and visibility are important. He also said he wanted to help "cultivate a culture that's accepting [and]...compassionate."

Newsweek contacted the Las Vegas Raiders for comment.