Tampa Bay, Florida – Carl Nassib is the first openly gay active NFL player. In 2021, as a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, he made headlines by coming out after five seasons in the pros. Nassib was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to a family of football enthusiasts. His father played at the University of Delaware. His older brother played in the NFL. Nassib excelled in high school sports, lettering in football, basketball, and track and field. His love of athletics and exceptional success fueled his dream of one day playing professional sports. At Penn State University he earned the Lombardi Award for best college football linebacker and the Hendricks Award for top defensive end in the nation. He was also named the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2016 the Cleveland Browns signed Nassib as a third-round draft pick for a four-year deal worth $3.2 million. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed Nassib off waivers for his last two years of the contract, then the Las Vegas Raiders picked him up in 2020 as an unrestricted free agent. During Pride Month in June 2021, Nassib came out in an Instagram post. Despite fearing it might ruin his career, Nassib felt an obligation to set an example for LGBTQ youth. In his post, he pledged $100,000 to the Trevor Project, an organization that provides counseling and suicide prevention services for at-risk LGBTQ kids. He said, “I do not know all of the history behind our courageous LGBT community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.” In a remarkable show of support, the NFL matched Nassib’s donation.
After a standout 2021 season, Nassib became the first out NFL player to compete in the playoffs. In 2022 he signed a one-year deal to play again with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Nassib announced his retirement in September 2023. He plans to focus on his company, Rayze, a “positive” social media platform that helps nonprofits. He continues to support the Trevor Project and advocate for LGBTQ rights. Nassib is in a relationship with Soren Dahl, an Olympic swimmer. (Q Notes Online – at Qnotescarolinas.com/lgbtq-history-month-carl-nassib)
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