When Carl Nassib made his historic announcement that he was gay yesterday, the first gay, active NFL player signed to a team to do so, he pledged $100,000 to the Trevor Project, the advocacy and support organization for LGBTQ+ youth at risk for death by suicide, and challenged others to contribute as well. That challenge was accepted by Roger Goodell and the NFL just a short time ago with the announcement the league will match the Raiders defensive end’s donation to the Trevor Project. The league also encouraged others to do the same and provided a link to make a donation.
“The NFL is supporting Raiders DE Carl Nassib by matching his donation with a $100,000 contribution to the Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth,” the league announced earlier today. “The NFL is committed to year-long efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We proudly support the LGBTQ+ community and will continue to work alongside the Trevor Project and our other community partners to further enhance our collective work and commitment to this space.”
Ryan Russell, a bisexual defensive end who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, came out publicly while a free agent recovering from a shoulder injury in 2019. He explains to Out that Nassib’s bravery is already having an impact on sports and society as evidenced by the league’s matching donation.
“Carl provides much needle visibility to many if not all LGBTQ+ athletes, especially male athletes who, before today, didn't see themselves represented on any professional male team in any of the major sports leagues,” Russell tells Out via email. “But more than just his representation but his pledge to the Trevor Project that the NFL has now matched will directly affect so many young lives immediately.”
Earlier, commissioner Goodell had expressed pride on behalf of the league for Nassib’s courage and bravery in coming out.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Goodell said in an earlier statement via the NFL. “Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”
While the season opener is still months away, Nassib, the NFL, and the Trevor Project have all scored big victories before the first kickoff.
The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger). Trained counselors at the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at (866) 488-7386, by texting START to 678678, or via the TrevorChat instant messaging service at TheTrevorProject.org/Help. If you or a friend are having suicidal thoughts, please know there is a well of support out there to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities. If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, the Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860.