Carl Nassib broke the barrier Monday, becoming the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay.
Support for the 28-year-old Las Vegas Raiders defensive end poured in after his video announcement, even from President Joe Biden. Steelers offensive tackle Zach Bannersaid Nassib was the embodiment of “leadership.” Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon said he was “really proud” of him.
Nassib's announcement was momentous in helping to build acceptance and opening the door for other players to follow, current and former NFL players said. And when it comes to the locker room atmosphere, they believe Nassib's announcement won’t change anything at all.
“Yes, absolutely yes, there are horrible people out there who are too insecure with their lives and might be homophobic or transphobic,” Banner told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “Not in the NFL. We don’t have those experiences. To just automatically assume that there’s going to be some type of homophobia because of Carl’s coming out, I don't want to say it hurts my feelings, but it’s almost like an insult.
“Because that’s a brother. People don’t get that. If there is ever anything like, ‘Hey, I don’t feel comfortable with this,’ then get the hell out and go to another league.”
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