6/22/21: First Active NFL Player Comes Out As Gay

Positive social change takes time…a lot of it. And, it also takes heroes…a lot of them.

Why? Let’s look a little at the facts when it comes to a topic like LGBTQ+ “acceptance.” It’s tough to even have to use that word, but there’s not many to select from when it comes to our society’s openness to what it wasn’t, once before.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all 50 states, & required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses.

OK, so didn’t that settle “it”? Wasn’t that THE law that solidified acceptance? Unfortunately, things don’t work like that. Things being legalized vs socially embraced/accepted by the masses are two very diff things.

A law is put into effect as pen hits paper. But, for things to be embraced/accepted socially (almost universally) it takes that time, it takes those heroes. And why those heroes? Because the walls come down brick by brick. So, we need their stories as the hammers.

@carlnassib’s story comes off the heels of others in the NFL. Former players who came out after their playing days. Guys like Michael Sam in 2014 who became the first openly gay player drafted (tho he never played). Guys like @rkrelentless a free agent in 2019 who came out as bisexual but hasn’t played since.

As @theofleury14 always says, the first ones thru the walls get bloodied. Each of the folks mentioned & so many others have been part of breaking down this wall.

I was fortunate to speak w Carl, abt 2 wks ago. His biz partner reached out on Linked-In, abt an app they wanted to discuss. Did I know Carl was gay at the time? No. Would it’ve mattered to me? No. He’s a human…smart…got a great idea. Who cares who/what he’s attracted to?

But not everyone thinks that way…& that’s where the “bloodied” comes in. Despite all the incredible words of encouragement the last 24 hrs, Carl knows he’s gonna deal w stares…comments – from opponents, fans, maybe even in his own locker room. But he gets to be authentically HIM…something he hasn’t been able to be in 15 yrs.

His path won’t be easy…but it’ll change & save so many lives.

And so with that, you had to know I was gonna find parallels here w MH. First, the obvious – Carl is donating 100K to the Trevor Project, in the hopes of curtailing some of the negative trends seen between LGBTQ+ youth & suicide. Carl will be a great ambassador & advocate for not only this community/org, specifically, but also the MH movement, generally.

And now the more macro view. While this is a BOLD move by Carl, he knows social acceptance & normalization is going to take more time & more heroes. More guys in the NFL coming out & sharing their stories…guys in other sports…in other areas of society where “you wouldn’t expect a participant to be gay.” It’s gonna take MANY holding hands, showing a United front to truly normalize this all. And while the MH movement is gaining some steam, it’s still behind many social movements. For real social change to happen, we can’t expect the walls to come down from one big singer, or business leader, or Olympian, opening up. We need it to be many, sharing vulnerably, beyond their label, HOW they struggle just like EVERYONE else, with THAT CONSISTENT message. One-offs don’t do it. Thanks, Carl, for being a leader. Now, for both topics, we need more & more leaders standing up there next to you!

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