Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, has come out as gay in a historic first.
Nassib, 28, on Monday said he made the announcement to increase visibility, and in doing so, made history as the first openly gay active player in the NFL.
The athlete, speaking from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said he finally felt comfortable enough to "get it off my chest."
"I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then, I am going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that is accepting, that is compassionate," Nassib said, announcing a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, a LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization.
"The NFL family is proud of you, Carl," the league said Monday evening in a tweet, with the NFL logo in a rainbow for LGBTQ pride month.
Nassib wrote that since coming out he has been "greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance."
Other NFL players have come out as gay after retiring, but none have done so while actively playing.
Michael Sam was the first openly gay NFL draftee in 2014, but, according to NBC Sports, was not on a regular season roster and never played a game after he was drafted onto the St. Louis Rams.
"Thank you for making history — as you said, representation is so important," tweeted Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBTQ rights organization.
Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island who is one of Congress' LGBTQ members, tweeted that Nassib "became an outstanding role model for millions of young LGBTQ+ Americans."