Carl Nassib stared at his phone for an hour before deciding to post his coming out video in 2021

·2 min read

When former Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay in 2021, he received "nothing but love and support" from around the league.

But that moment took over 15 years and an hour of staring at his phone before he finally sent the short Instagram video that announced his sexual orientation to the world.

"I stared at the phone for, like, an hour just looking at it, trying to hype myself up," he told Good Morning America on Tuesday. "The last thing I said was like, 'You know what — for the kids.' And pressed post.

"I just wanted to show that it really doesn't matter — your sexual orientation."

Nassib added that his close friends and family already knew he was gay, but he wanted to come out publicly "to stay ahead of the narrative" and to help others realize that coming out doesn't have to be thought of as a negative thing. In fact, Nassib said he hopes his story is a step in the right direction for a more inclusive future.

"[I] actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary," he said. "When people come out, they're coming out of the closet because they're afraid. They have fear that they're gonna have negative impact on their life, on their relationships, on their job.

"I just hoped that one day we don't have those fears — that's the society I hope for one day. And I hope I can be a positive push in that direction."

Nassib spent the past two seasons with the Raiders but was released in March after he recorded 21 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks in 13 games. He previously spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns. He said he wasn't surprised the Raiders released him and remains committed to continuing his NFL career.

"It was a great time we had. I have so much love for Las Vegas. It allowed me to do a lotta great things," Nassib said. "And I think that there'll be more — there'll be better opportunities in the future."

 Carl Nassib became the first active gay player in the NFL. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Carl Nassib became the first active gay player in the NFL. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)