Like everyone else who cares about equality and positive visibility for LGBTQ+ professional athletes, I was beaming with pride and admiration when then Oakland Raider defensive end Carl Nassib came out. He earned the title of “first” openly gay active NFL player and it’s been long overdue for sure. Professional sports in America remains territory that needs to be conquered when it comes being a landscape where athletes feel safe to be out and open about their sexuality. It was equally disappointing when the Raiders released him during the offseason earlier this year.
Thankfully, the standout pass rusher is coming back full circle signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. Nassib had his two most productive years, stat wise anyway, when he last played for the Bucs in 2018 and 2019. He left Tampa in free agency for the Las Vegas Raider and signed a two-year deal. He came out of the closet in June 2021. Upon his coming out via social media, he also announced he was donating $100,000 to Trevor Project, the only national organization dedicated to combating LGBTQ+ suicide.
Harvey Milk, the first openly gay publicly elected in the State of California, used to say, “The biggest threat to gay people everywhere, anytime is being invisible.” We congratulate and applaud this brave act and look forward to watching him play this upcoming season!