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West Chester’s Carl Nassib becomes first active NFL player to announce he’s gay

Nassib played football and basketball at Malvern Prep, went from walk-on to national star at Penn State, and has been in the NFL since 2016.

Carl Nassib (94) celebrates with Raiders teammates after grabbing an interception during the Raiders' game against the Denver Broncos last November in Las Vegas.
Carl Nassib (94) celebrates with Raiders teammates after grabbing an interception during the Raiders' game against the Denver Broncos last November in Las Vegas.Read moreJeff Bottari / AP

West Chester-born Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib came out as gay on Monday, becoming the first active player in NFL history to do so, according to

“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” Nassib said in a video posted on his Instagram account. In accompanying text, he wrote, “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.”

Now 28 years old, Nassib played football and basketball at Malvern Prep and went on from there to Penn State. Initially a walk-on with the Nittany Lions, he won the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year award as a senior, and also won the national Vince Lombardi and Hendricks awards.

Nassib was drafted in 2016 by the Cleveland Browns, and made his pro debut against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Feld — including a sack of Carson Wentz. He spent two seasons with the Browns, then two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and has been with the Raiders since March 2020. In 73 career NFL games, he has recorded 20½ sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception.

He made the announcement from his offseason home in West Chester.

“Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends, especially Connor, Cason, and Francis, did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I’m gay,” Nassib said. “I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches, and fellow players for their support. I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.”

He admitted that he does not “know all the history behind our courageous LGTBQ community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.”

June is Pride Month, which may have been a factor in the timing of Nassib’s announcement. He accompanied his words with a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people.

“I’m a pretty private person, so hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention,” Nassib said. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that, like, one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary.”

Until then, he said, “I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”

Toward the end of his post, Nassib cited studies that “have shown that all it takes is one 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.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement that like Nassib, he hopes “that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community.”

“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Goodell said. “Representation matters.”

The Raiders backed their player with Twitter and Instagram posts that included screenshots of his Instagram post, and said, “Proud of you, Carl.” The NFLPA tweeted “We support you, Carl.”

And Penn State coach James Franklin, who coached Nassib with the Nittany Lions, said: “I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice. This announcement doesn’t surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. ... Carl’s brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of when he led the nation in sacks, but I’m even more proud of him now.”

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