(NEW YORK) — NFL player Carl Nassib made history Monday by announcing that he’s gay. He’s the first active player to come out publicly in league history.
The Las Vegas Raiders defensive end posted a video from his home in Pennsylvania revealing his sexual orientation and said he’s been meaning to announce for a long time.
“I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he said in the video.
The post also contained more words in the form of screenshots of notes where Nassib, 28, talked about his journey. He said he was sitting in a “moment of gratitude and relief.”
“Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years. Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends… did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I’m gay,” he wrote.
Nassib thanked his family, coaches and teammates for the support through the years and said he “was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.”
He also used his post to promote awareness for suicide prevention in the LGTBQ community. Nassib said he was donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, which is an organization for suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.
Nassib said that younger LGTBQ children are five times more likely than straight children to consider suicide.
“For someone like me, who has been so lucky and cherishes every day, it brings me incredible sadness to think that our LGTBQ youth are at such an elevated risk for suicide,” he wrote.
Nassib added that studies have shown that “all it takes is on accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%.”
“Whether you’re a friend, a parent, a coach or a teammate, you can be that person,” he said.
The NFL confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that the league will match Carl Nassib’s $100,000 pledge to The Trevor Project. The news was first reported by Outsports earlier in the day.
He encouraged others to donate to The Trevor Project and included a link in his Instagram bio.
Amit Paley, the Trevor Project’s CEO and executive director, said in a statement that the organization was grateful for Nassib’s support and message.
“LGBTQ representation matters because it gives LGBTQ youth the chance to envision a bright future and dream of possibilities,” Paley said in the statement. “We hope this historic moment for the NFL will foster LGBTQ inclusion in professional sports and inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to pursue their talents.”
Nassib’s message made an immediate impact on the non-profit, according to a spokesperson for The Trevor Project. Traffic to the website jumped by 350% on Tuesday, Kevin Wong, the non-profit’s vice president of communications told ABC News.
“We’ve seen a 50% increase in our daily online donations since the announcement yesterday, and some of the donations even have heartwarming notes referencing Carl’s coming out, showing acceptance for LGBTQ young people, and supporting LGBTQ youth mental health,” he said.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Monday night. “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.”
The Raiders responded to the post with heart emojis and later put out a tweet with screenshots of Nassib’s post.
“Proud of you, Carl,” the team tweeted with a heart emoji.
The NFL also shared Nassib’s video on its Twitter page with the message, “The NFL family is proud of you, Carl,” with a heart emoji.
“Carl Nassib’s powerful coming out is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him,” GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement Monday.
University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay in 2014 before the St. Louis Rams drafted him, however, the team cut him during the preseason. He went on to play football in Canada for a year before retiring in 2015.
On Tuesday, Sam thanked Nassib on Twitter for his message and donation to The Trevor Project.
“I hope and pray people will take note to this. Thank you again Carl and look forward to seeing you play on the field,” he tweeted.
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