Carl Nassib speaks on stage at a 'Night Of Pride With GLAAD and NFL' at Caesars Palace on February 07, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

Watch: Carl Nassib Announces NFL Draft Pick, Shares LGBTQ+ Youth Support

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Around Friday's NFL Draft, former football defensive end Carl Nassib shared a poignant message about LGBTQ+ youth and suicide rates that resonated with his own coming out story.

As reported by CNN, Nassib was in attendance to announce the second round draft pick for Cleveland Browns, where he started his NFL career in 2016, in partnership with The Trevor Project.

Joined on stage by The Trevor Project's founder and interim CEO, Peggy Rajski, Nassib thanked the organization for its support and the work it does for LGBTQ+ youth. In an interview before the announcement, Nassib explained his partnership with the organization and how it influenced his decision to come out in 2021, making him the first active NFL player in the league's history to do so.

"I think that my career, my platform has provided an avenue to get our messaging for the need for more support for LGBTQ youth to people that might not hear it every day," said Nassib, who was playing for the Las Vegas Raiders when he came out, in an interview with CNN. "I think that athletes, that people who watch sports might not be hearing the messaging that they really need to hear about what Trevor Project is doing so we've built a really, really strong partnership over the last few years."

Nassib explained that he struggled with the decision for 15 years but in the end felt like he could use his visibility to garner support and awareness of challenges faced by LGBTQ youth.

"I've continued my support for the Trevor Project because there are kids here in the States, probably around the world, who would rather be dead than be gay and that really crushes me," said Nassib.

According to The Trevor Project, there are around 1.8 million LGBTQ+ young people – ages 13-24 – who seriously consider suicide each year in the US and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds. Additionally, the organization launched a 24/7 crisis services line for LGBTQ+ youth in Mexico.

Nassib reportedly consulted with The Trevor Project before coming out publicly and discussing his sexuality, and he has continued to support the non-profit organization with hopes that his status as a former professional athlete will "help the next generation."

"I thought it would be a really big moment and so I wanted to be able to redirect some of that attention to the cause that needs as much attention as we can possibly give it so," said Nassib. "I feel very lucky just to be in the same sentence with them."

Nassib is still the only NFL player to publicly identify as gay while active in the league–but aspiring NFLr Byron Perkins isn't far behind.

by Emell Adolphus

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