Carl Nassib Makes History As NFL's First Openly Gay Player

It's easy to underestimate what kind of toll it can take on a person to keep a secret for a long time. And that's especially true when that secret concerns something that's a fundamental part of yourself.

Because while that secret can grow as a source of anxiety the longer it stays under wraps, there's also a very real fear of how people may react once they know about it and that finally revealing it can bring about a scary change in our lives.

But once a person knows there's a level of support around them, they can enter a beautiful chapter in their lives where that anxiety becomes a thing of the past.

And it seems that one NFL player could be ready to enter that chapter and help others do the same.

On June 21, Las Vegas Raiders Defensive End Carl Nassib made a video statement on Instagram announcing that he is gay.

In a written statement accompanying this video, he stated that he has agonized over the decision to become open about this for 15 years.

As he put it, "I've been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."

He also mentioned that another factor that made coming out difficult for him is the fact that he's generally a private person and wasn't looking for public attention.

However, he felt that publicly coming out would have positive implications for representation and visibility of LGBTQ+ people in previously unseen arenas.

Indeed, CNN reported that Nassib is now the first openly gay active NFL player in the league's history.

In his words, "I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary."

But until that day comes, Nassib wants to do his part to "cultivate a culture of acceptance and compassion."

And while his written statement has made it clear that he's received support from his friends, fellow players, and coaches, both his team and the NFL have also made encouraging statements towards him.

According to CNN, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. 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."

As for Nassib's own efforts to bring about that culture of compassion, he also announced that he's making a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project.

According to CNBC, this is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention charity specifically focused on LGBTQ+ youth.

As Nassib said, "They're truly doing incredible things. And I'm very excited to be a part of it, help in any way that I can and I'm really pumped to see what the future holds."

h/t: CNN