Support for openly gay NFL player encouraging to SWFL LGBTQ youth

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Carl Nassib
Carl Nassib in 2020. FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Much of the world is showing its support for the first active NFL player to come out as gay, and some families in Southwest Florida say this will not only save lives but allow them to have lives.

Carl Nassib knows how to command a defense and make a quarterback pay. He also knows how to command attention.

“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” he said in a video posted Monday.

Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, was clear in his Instagram post: He’s not coming out for himself.

“I just think representation and visibility are so important,” he said.


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A post shared by Carl Nassib (@carlnassib)

From Las Vegas to Fort Myers, the LGBTQ community agrees: Representation and visibility are important.

“Honestly, I feel like Carl Nassib coming out probably saved some lives,” said Emmie Spiller.

Fifteen and bisexual, she knows bullying, depression, and suicide rates are sky high in her LGBTQ community. As a young soccer player, she felt blessed to have a proud, gay athletic role model of her own.

“Megan Rapinoe was a big inspiration to me because she was open about her sexuality, she had no fear.”

“Fear” is a word LGBTQ kids know well.

Megan Rapinoe (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Crystal Czyscon’s transgender son was outted in a gym class right here in Lee County. He was bullied so badly that he had to switch to virtual school, where he ultimately graduated cum laude.

“He’s never gone to a dance, he’s never participated in a club, he’s gone through his whole high school years without even making a single friend,” Czyscon said.

Now, he and so many other kids who suffer in silence, who suffer alone, have hope.

“I hope one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said.

The question now is will that day come sooner or later?

In his video, Nassib announced he donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth crisis prevention service. The group’s primary mission is suicide prevention for LGBTQ people age 25 and under.

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