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Carl Nassib has once again made history as the first openly gay National Football League (NFL) player to make the sport’s regular season roster.
Nassib, the 28-year-old a six-foot-seven, 275-pound end, officially earned a spot on the finalised roster for the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday (31 August).
This makes Nassib the first out athlete to be signed onto an NFL team’s regular season roster – paving the way for the player to make history yet another time as the first out player to play in a regular season game.
The six-year veteran will make his debut 13 September for the league’s Monday Night Football, OutSports reported.
Carl Nassib hopes that one day coming out won’t be ‘necessary’
Carl Nassib, one of 16 known queer men to play in NFL history, came out on Instagram in June. In a one-minute-long video and an accompanying statement, he said he had agonised over this moment for the last 15 years.
“I actually hope that like, one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said, “but until then I’m going to do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Alongside his announcement, he added that he donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a suicide-prevention group for LGBT+ youth.
Being kept on at the Raiders is undoubtedly a triumph for the Nassib, who follows in the legacy of Michael Sam.
Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL in 2014, but was later cut from the St Louis Rams.
He suffered blows to his career from NFL officials and teammates before transitioning to playing for Canadian Football League the following year, making history in the process.
His career, however, came to a premature end in 2015 after he quit the sport citing mental health issues.
“Carl Nassib thank you for owning your truth and especially your donation to The Trevor Project,” Sam tweeted after Nassib shared his truth.
“LGBT+ people are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. I hope and pray people will take note to this.
“Thank you again Carl and look forward to seeing you play on the field.”