For decades we’ve heard that any NFL player who turns out to be openly gay would be a distraction to his team given media and fan attention, seemingly endorsing the view that players should stay locked up. . Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders, is testing this theory in 2021 after its public release in June.
Week 7 (October 24): at Raiders 33, Eagles 22
Nassib pulled off a tackle and near-sack from Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts as the Raiders won their second game since Jon Gruden stepped down as coach following the posting of racist, sexist emails , homophobic and transphobic. With the win, the Raiders are alone in first place in the AFC West, half a game ahead of the inactive LA Chargers.
Distraction counter: 0
Notable: On Twitter, Eagles fan Ben Livingston describes himself as “America’s only gay sports radio personality turned data scientist.” tweeted about a cool time he and boyfriend Scott had at the game in Las Vegas:
“An Iowa Raiders fan saw my boyfriend’s Carl Nassib jersey and offered to send us a signed Nassib rookie card.”
Livingston, who was a producer on WIP Sports Radio in Philadelphia before moving to New York, gave me some background information: “We were approached from inside the door, there. [the fan] saw my boyfriend’s jersey (I wasn’t wearing mine at the moment. I’m an Eagles fan but he’s a huge Raiders fan) and made the offer out of the blue. He said he bought it online when the story came out because he thought it would be a good thing to have.
Week 6 (October 17): Raiders 34, Broncos 24
Nassib hit a tackle as the Raiders entered Denver and ended a two-game losing streak and moved to 4-2, tied with the AFC West Chargers.
Distraction counter: 0
Notable: The Raiders played their most comprehensive game of the season under the guidance of interim coach Rich Bisaccia, hired after Jon Gruden was forced to resign following the publication of his homophobic, racist, sexist and transphobic emails .
Last week, two days after posting the first batch of emails, the Raiders played their worst game of the season in a loss to the Bears, proving Gruden to be a huge distraction. Now that he’s gone, the Raiders look like a new and improved team, at least after one game.
Following Gruden’s resignation and the revelation that his trainer regularly used anti-gay slurs, Nassib took a day off. His decision was met with the full support of star tight end Darren Waller.
“I maintain that [the absence] 100 percent, ”Waller said via The Athletic.com. “He’s pretty much a lone wolf when it comes to that. No one should be able to tell him how he feels. No one should be able to tell her how to grieve. He deserves to take time for himself because it’s a lot to deal with.
“Someone you’ve been invested in, fought with and dated and there’s a quote that says something like what was said, I can’t imagine what he must be feeling and I respects him who wants to take his space and be able to come back lucid.
During the CBS TV broadcast, advertisers said they asked Nassib to come to their pre-game production meeting, but he declined. He’s clearly not ready to talk about what happened under Gruden.
Week 5 (Oct 10): Bears 20, Raiders 9
It was a calm day for Nassib and frustrating for the Raiders, who lost their second straight game to fall to 3-2. The defensive lineman failed a tackle for the first time this season. But he was hardly alone. The Raiders just weren’t competitive in this one. They are now tied for second in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos.
Distraction counter: 0
Quote: “This is my third team in the league and I’ve played in every stadium and I’ve never heard from fans like Raiders fans,” Nassib said in an interview with Raiders.com (his segment starts at 5:50 p.m.). “I think Penn State has the best college environment, I think we [Raiders] have by far the best NFL environment. There, absolutely crazy. I really love how intense they are, how much they love us, how much they support us.
What I liked about this interview was that it was all about football and didn’t focus on Nassib being gay. There is clearly a time and place for this, but it is not necessarily the problem with every interview. He’s a football player who happens to be gay.
Week 4 (Oct 4): at Chargers 28, Raiders 14
Nassib pulled off a tackle and twice put pressure on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert on Monday night, narrowly missing a sack each time. The Raiders lost for the first time this season and are now 3-1, tied for first place against AFC West. Distraction counter: 0
Notable: Nassib announced that he has a boyfriend.
Quote: This tweet stood out in a sea of mostly lame jokes on Twitter about Nassib being actually smart, not offensive: NFL history. Jackson, a running back for the Chargers, is roughly at politically left of Bernie Sanders.
Week 3 (September 26): at Raiders 31, Dolphins 28 (OT)
Nassib had a great game on Sunday, with a solo tackle and assists on three more tackles. His best game was at the end of the second quarter when his great rush leads to a bag of Dolphins QB Jacoby Brissett; Nassib got the credit of a 1??2 bag with teammate Solomon Thomas. The Raiders went 3-0 for the first time since 2002, the last year they went to the Super Bowl. It was the Raiders’ second overtime victory this season. Distraction counter: 0
Notable: For years, one of the fears people feared a player would turn gay was loss of support. How things have changed. You can purchase a Nassib t-shirt or hoodie, licensed from the NFL Players’ Assn.
Week 2 (September 19): Raiders 26, at Steelers 17
Nassib was limited with an injured pectoral muscle and recorded a tackle. The Raiders, touchdown underdogs, hit the road and upset Pittsburgh to go 2-0. Distraction counter (0-10, 10 being the highest): 0
Quote: When Nassib came out, one of his biggest supporters was Zach Banner, a Steelers offensive lineman who played with Nassib when both were on the Cleveland Browns.
“Before he even comes out, you know he’s not just a good person, but a great teammate,” Banner said. “I sympathize not only with the gay community, but also with the LGBTQ + community and anything that really falls under the category of someone’s sexuality. I have never discriminated against something like this. I am not built like that. Honestly, sometimes I really don’t understand how you can hate someone for what they love and what they do.
“If he was in my locker room I would totally, completely support him, which a lot of his guys with the Raiders have,” Banner said. “They did it publicly, and the reason it’s important is that some people get upset about it, but it’s the same people who are really holding us back. Their mindset and opinions are really irrelevant. It’s not so much just support at Carl, but supporting children like Carl who don’t have this outlet, who sometimes don’t have this support, who don’t have the financial means to live their lifestyle, no matter what everyone cares about. Who are harassed. Who are sometimes forced to commit suicide and harm themselves.
Week 1 (September 13): Raiders 33, Steelers 27 (OT)
Nassib was a star in his first game as an openly gay player, recording three tackles and a forced sack / fumble in a wild overtime to establish the Raiders’ winning scoreline and go 1-0. Distraction counter: 0.
Quote: “Lots of premieres today” Nassib said after the game. “I was really enjoying it as much as I could … I played a lot of games … and I won’t forget this one.”