New England Patriots

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 15: Carl Nassib #94 of the Las Vegas Raiders flexes while smiling during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Retired former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has joined the widespread chorus of support for Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, who on Monday became the first active NFL player to come out as gay in an announcement on Instagram.

“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” Nassib says in his announcement. “I really have the best life. I’ve got the best family, friends, and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.

“I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”

Nassib also announced a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to “providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.” If you are reading this and seek help, The Trevor Project phone line is available 24/7 at (866) 488-7386. Click here if you’re interested in making a donation.

“Awesome moment. Spreading the love to the @TrevorProject very classy move,” Edelman tweeted on Monday about Nassib’s announcement and donation. Edelman was one of many fellow players across the NFL to congratulate and offer their support for Nassib, a five-year veteran of the NFL.

The Raiders Twitter account shared Nassib’s announcement with the message, “Proud of you, Carl.” Former Raiders legend Bo Jackson tweeted on Tuesday, “Proud of Carl Nassib on coming out yesterday. The #RaiderNation, the whole country, and I stand with you.”

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Nassib had the best-selling jersey across the NFL on the Fanatics network for Monday and Tuesday.

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