NFL Players Who Are Members Of LGBTQ+

Carl Nassib celebrating his team's victory
Gettyimages | Harry How

The National Football League (NFL) recently took a huge step forward to promote gender equality. In a video that is currently available on Youtube, NFL expressed their support to the LQBTQ+ community, saying that football isn't just for men and women, but also for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers.

“I am proud of the clear message this spot sends to the NFL’s LGBTQ+ fans: This game is unquestionably for you,” NFL diversity director Sam Rapoport said, via Outsports. “I will be playing its first line over and over in my head all season.”

Carl Nassib, First Active NFL Player To Come Out As Gay

Carl Nassib reacts to ref's decision
Gettyimages | Ethan Miller

NFL's latest action is expected to encourage coaches and players to become more vocal about their sexual orientation. Three weeks before they released the video, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib made a huge announcement. On his official Instagram account, Nassib revealed that he's gay, making him the first active NFL player to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Nassib said that keeping his real gender orientation secret has agonized him for 15 years. After making the big revelation, he said that he finally felt comfortable that he managed to get it off his chest.

Ryan Russell, NFL Free Agent

Ryan Russell passing the ball
Gettyimages | Eric Francis

NFL free agent Ryan Russell is another football player who is a confirmed member of the LGBTQ+ community. In an ESPN essay that was posted two years ago, Russell revealed that he's a "bisexual man." Russell is yet to find his new home, but he previously played for the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Buffalo Bills.

After coming out of the closet, Russell said that his two major goals were to play again in the NFL and live his life openly.

Esera Tuaolo, Former Green Bay Packers NT

Esera Tuaolo appeared to engage in an arm wrestling
Gettyimages | Dave Kotinsky

Former NFL journeyman Esera Tuaolo came out of the closet three years after he permanently retired as a football player. Tuaolo, who played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers, revealed that he's gay to HBO Sports in 2002.

During his interview, Tuaolo discussed laughing off gay jokes and slurs in the years that he played in the NFL. Since making his huge revelation, he has been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Jerry Smith, Former Washington Redskins TE

One of the most notable gay NFL players was Washington Redskins legend Jerry Smith. Smith only revealed his real sexual orientation when he retired as an NFL Player. However, from the time he arrived in Washington, then-Redskins head coach and general manager Vince Lombardi already knew that he was gay.

Having his own brother as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Lombardi showed love and respect to Smith. He assured him that his sexual orientation wouldn't be an issue and told him that he would be judge solely on his on-the-field performance and contribution to the team's success.