Carl Nassib came out publicly as gay in June, raising the specter of the much-ballyhooed “media circus” that would surely follow him and the Las Vegas Raiders into their first preseason matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
Yet through training camp, as reported by our own Jim Buzinski and Silver and Black Pride, the three-ring traveling “media circus” that we’ve been told would follows has — as Outsports has predicted all along — had better spots to set up shop.
When the Raiders play the Seahawks on Saturday, it will be much more of the same. Nassib very well may get louder cheers from fans when his name is announced, or when he first enters the game. There will likely be a couple questions about his first game.
But think about it. At this point, what do you ask?
“So how does it feel to be gay and play in a preseason game?”
Of his teammates:
“How much harder were the Seahawks to tackle, now that you know Carl is gay?”
There was huge media response to Nassib coming out, but that’s why we often suggest to high-profile athletes that they come out publicly in the offseason. Let people get the response out of their system for a couple days away from training camp or the season, then focus on football.
With that said, will there be some hoopla surrounding his first regular season game, when the Raiders host the Ravens on Monday Night Football on Sept. 13? There will be some. And that’s OK. Michael Sam coming out and being out during training camp and the preseason with the Rams years ago helped smooth the ride.
Yet we haven’t had an out gay player in a regular season game, let alone a season opener on Monday Night Football (it’s like the NFL schedule-makers had a crystal ball).
Yet ultimately that will be about football too, with some slightly louder cheers from the media.
Because ultimately, it’s still about the football.