Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday by coming out as gay on social media.
In doing so, he became the first-ever active player in the NFL to publicly identify as gay during their tenure with a team.
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I am gay,” the 28-year-old said in a video posted to his Instagram page on Monday. “I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”
In a written message, Nassib thanked his family, friends and teammates for their support, saying he “would not have been able to do this without them.”
Nassib went on to say that he will be donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides counseling, support services and suicide intervention to LGBTQ+ teens and young adults.
“I was immediately drawn to The Trevor Project when I learned about their mission to provide suicide prenetin services to the LGBTQ community,” Nassib wrote in part. “For someone like me, who has been so lucky and cherishes every day, it brings me incredible sadness to think that our LGBTQ youth are at such an elevated risk for suicide. I feel an immense responsibility to help in any way I can — and you can too.”
A handful of other players have come out as gay after they retired from the league. Michael Sam came out as gay in 2014 before being drafted by the then-St. Louis Rams and played during the preseason, but did not make it on to the regular season roster.
In a statement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cheered Nassib's announcement, but expressed the hope 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 wrote. "Representation matters."
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Nassib's former collegiate teammate at Penn State, celebrated the news on Twitter: "Much respect brudda."
Three-time NFL champion Julian Edelman called the announcement an "awesome moment."
The Raiders team posted a message of support for Nassib on Monday evening, sharing his Instagram post with the caption: "Proud of you, Carl."
The official league account took to Twitter to write that "the NFL family is proud of you, Carl."
June is officially recognized as Pride Month in the United States.
Nassib, who played college football for Penn State Nittany Lions before being selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 NFL draft with the 65th overall pick, is the younger brother of former Syracuse University quarterback Ryan Nassib, who formerly played for the New York Giants.