Even though Carl Nassib now represents a different band of pirates, dispatching opposing quarterbacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022, he’s still appreciated by the fans he made with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The image of Nassib in silver and black will forever be associated with his barrier-breaking season as the first NFL player to come out as openly gay while on an active roster.
With that in mind, Las Vegas’ The Center, a community hub dedicated to serving the area’s LGBTQ population, announced they will be honoring Nassib with the Lanny D. Love Hero Award at their annual gala on October 14. The ceremony will take place at Resorts World Las Vegas.
The Bucs are scheduled to play a game at Pittsburgh on Sunday, October 16, so in all likelihood, Nassib will have to accept his award virtually or record a video of thanks. But it would be quite an impressive gesture of support if Tampa Bay were to let him travel to accept it in person.
All of this underlines what Nassib’s role as a trailblazer meant to the Vegas LGBTQ community, considering he spent only two seasons playing for the Raiders, being publicly out for one of them.
He recorded 49 tackles and four sacks in 27 games for Vegas, performing at a consistent level in spite of the off-field pressures he faced for his history-making role.
In addition, Nassib is responsible for one minor miracle: his story might be the first time we’ve turned to Raiders fans to make us feel good about humanity.
It’s clear that no matter where his career takes him, he’ll always be a popular figure among LGBTQ Raiders Nation.
And as the name of his award indicates, the next time he returns to Las Vegas, he’ll be greeted with a hero’s welcome.