Clarified: Gay pioneers of the NFL

Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as a gay man in 2021 during Pride Month.Nassib described sharing the news with the world and his fans on Instagram as “a moment of gratitude and relief.” However, he wrote, “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.” Before Nassib, not once had there been an openly gay player in a regular-season NFL game. Micheal Sam came close. In 2014, before being drafted by the Rams, the defensive lineman came out as gay. However, Sam never got the opportunity to play in a regular-season game. Many men have come out after their careers ended. Going back to the ’70s, not only did David Kopay inspire a new generation of players, but he also paved the way for other gay athletes in male-dominated sports. With Nassib coming out as an active NFL player, there’s a change in the air — and athletes of all orientations are taking notice.“I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that … one day, videos like this in the whole coming out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said.In this episode of Clarified, we explore the impact of Nassib coming out on the NFL and sports communities across the country as well as those who paved the way before Nassib. Throughout Pride Month, Clarified will explore the experiences and impact of LGBTQ people.

Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as a gay man in 2021 during Pride Month.

Nassib described sharing the news with the world and his fans on Instagram as “a moment of gratitude and relief.” However, he wrote, “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.”

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Before Nassib, not once had there been an openly gay player in a regular-season NFL game.

Micheal Sam came close. In 2014, before being drafted by the Rams, the defensive lineman came out as gay. However, Sam never got the opportunity to play in a regular-season game.

Many men have come out after their careers ended. Going back to the ’70s, not only did David Kopay inspire a new generation of players, but he also paved the way for other gay athletes in male-dominated sports.

With Nassib coming out as an active NFL player, there’s a change in the air — and athletes of all orientations are taking notice.

“I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that … one day, videos like this in the whole coming out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said.

In this episode of Clarified, we explore the impact of Nassib coming out on the NFL and sports communities across the country as well as those who paved the way before Nassib.


Throughout Pride Month, Clarified will explore the experiences and impact of LGBTQ people.

Contributed by local news sources

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