Over a year has passed since NFL player Carl Nassib made history as the first-ever player in the league to come out as gay. Now, he is opening up about the decision that changed his life and the NFL forever.
The 29-year-old, who now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made it clear in his rare interview with Men’s Health that he is not hiding from anything. However, the athlete made sure to emphasize that he doesn’t want his sexuality to define who he is as a player.
“I go out with the same mentality every game, just trying to beat the s— out of the team across from me. My whole thing is, I’m a football player who is gay,” he said in an interview. “I don’t think that straight players are thinking, ‘Oh, I’m straight and I’m playing this game.'”
Nassib continued reflecting on his career in the NFL and the fact that he played 5 seasons prior to coming out. For him, a main point of apprehension was due to his legacy: he did not want to only be remembered as the first openly gay player in the league. While others strongly focus on that, his sexuality hardly ever crosses his mind.
“I was born this way. I haven’t worked for it. That’s why it’s easy for me. It’s not even on my mind. I don’t choose every day to be gay,” Nassib relayed. “I choose to work hard and be a better person than I was yesterday. Doing interviews like this is not my favorite thing. I don’t want to ever feel like, ‘Oh, I’m hiding from something.’ I’m not hiding from s—.”
Carl Nassib discusses the importance of The Trevor Project
Still, the Tampa Bay linebacker recognizes that his decision to come out was significant. For Nassib, coming out meant decreasing the likelihood of LGBT youth suicide. During his initial announcement, he included the promotion of The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on preventing at-risk LGBT youth.
“It crushed me to hear the stats on young LGBTQ kids and how they’re nearly five times more likely to attempt suicide,” Nassib included in his interview. “And that if they just have one accepting adult — just one person to say, like, ‘Hey, I got your back’ — it cuts their chances of hurting themselves by 40 percent.”
He even admitted that the only reason he engages in interviews is to continue promoting the nonprofit. “The number-one thing why I do these f—— interviews is to keep the conversation going about the Trevor Project,” he stated. “
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