Carl Nassib made the final 53-man roster for the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday, ensuring the NFL will see its first openly gay player on the field when the Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 on Sept. 13.
There was little chance that Nassib would be cut since he is in the second year of a three-year contract worth $25.25 million, with $16.75 million guaranteed, and is expected to be a key backup defensive end.
When Nassib, 28, came out in June it was the biggest story in sports for a few days, but the attention quickly died down (which was a good thing). When training camp opened, I wrote about how Nassib’s appearance was treated with a shrug (again, a good thing).
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr summed up the team’s acceptance of Nassib, saying, “When he came in [the locker room], I just like to watch, and not one person, from my point of view, has treated him any different.”
“It’s been great. I knew it was gonna be good,” Nassib said about how he has been treated. “I had zero stress about that. Absolutely no worries about it. I’ve got a great locker room, great teammates. I’ve been met with nothing but love and support. It’s been incredible, yeah. Football players get a bad rap, but we’re humble, hard-working, accepting people, and this was a great example of that definitely.”
Nassib addressed the media once during camp, saying how happy he was for all the support he got after coming out.
At the beginning of training camp, “being the only out player, my body felt like Jello,” Nassib said. “I was very anxious. I just wanted to get this over with and feel better today than I did yesterday and the day before and I will feel better tomorrow. I’m just looking forward to the future.”
“It was definitely stressful growing up being in the closet, it’s definitely a weight lifted off of me. It’s been good not to lie at work.”
Nassib is one of 16 gay or bi men to play in NFL history and will be the first to play in a regular season game while out.