One of the most important cultural milestones in the recent history of North American sports has occurred in as glamorous and situations as shrugging.
Openly played in regular season matches in the NFL’s 102-year history until September 13, when Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Karl Nashib stepped into the field as he did in every six-year match. There were no gay players. Professional career.
The moment the Raiders broke the Nashib barrier during the Monday Night Football match was the backseat of the Raiders opening a new $ 2 billion jet-black stadium for fans. The greatest approval of Nashib’s feat came not from other organized gestures, but from some attendees wearing his 94th jersey.
On Sunday, when the Raiders play the Steelers, he will do it again. Nashib and the team take what he has achieved and leave it to others to identify and analyze whether significant cultural changes have occurred. alliance.
Experts on diversity and participation in sports said it should be.
“I think the fact that it wasn’t distracting is a very positive sign,” said Richard Raptic, director of the Institute for Sport Diversity and Ethics. “This is a sign of how well this was accepted and that there was no big fuss.”
On June 21, Nashib appeared as a homosexual in a video posted on his Instagram account, stating that he had internalized his sexuality as a secret for 15 years. A one-minute video shot outside his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, ignited social media congratulatory messages from NFL colleagues, celebrities, President Biden and others. According to the league’s e-commerce partner Fanatics, the Nassib jersey became the NFL’s top seller within 24 hours.
Prior to Nashib, 15 players in the history of the league were identified as gay or bisexual, according to Outsports, a news website dealing with LGBTQ athlete and sports issues. But unlike Nashib, they either announced sexuality after the day of play or never appeared in a regular season game.
Prior to the start of the season, Nashib said he would donate $ 100,000 to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth crisis intervention organization. The Trevor Project executive director, Amit Paley, said he contacted the organization about two months before the Instagram post to discuss the plan. In a conversation, Paley said Nashib wanted to not only spotlight himself, but also raise awareness of LGBTQ issues.
In a 2020 Trevor Project survey, 40% of more than 60,000 LGBTQ youth respondents said they were thinking of suicide, and 68% of respondents in another survey released this month by the organization said they were in school. And said he did not participate in community club sports. Afraid of discrimination.
As Nassib’s posts spread, traffic to the Trevor Project website increased by more than 350%, and the organization promised to donate at least $ 225,000 by the end of the week.
“I think Karl really wanted this not a big deal, and hope that someday someone would come out and it wouldn’t be a big deal,” Paley said in an interview. “But obviously, it was a big deal to be the first to come out like this.”
Things calmed down when the training camp started a month later. According to Fanatics, the Nasive jersey no longer outperforms the league’s sales, but remains in the top five among Raiders players.
He declined multiple interview requests and spoke publicly only once before the first match. Against Baltimore Ravens, Nassive played 44% of the defensive snaps in rotation and tackled three times. However, during overtime, he clashed with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in search of a bag, forcing him to fumble that the Raiders’ defense had been restored. The offense recorded a walk-off touchdown to win the game 33-27 after two plays.
Nashib has been on the third team since the Cleveland Browns drafted in 2016, leading the country with 15.5 bags as a senior at Pennsylvania State University, and won the Lombardi Award as the best lineman in the country. He said he was trying to remember every match, but he especially enjoyed the victory on Monday night.
“It was really special,” Nashib said at a post-match press conference. “I’m really happy to win on the day I made that history.”
His teammates did not mention Nashib’s historic role in victory. Director Jon Gruden praised only his performance in the field. Defensive end Maxx Crosby simply said, “Karl is a baller and I’m proud of the man.”
ESPN, the network that broadcasts games, also subtly dealt with Nashib’s achievements. It aired a 28-second video in the third quarter with a clip of his Instagram video and some photos. Former NBA player Charles Barkley appeared as a guest on another ESPN2 broadcast featuring retired NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, wearing a naive jersey.
The casual attitude of the interview mimicked the acceptance of other male professional athletes who played the first game after coming out in some ways. Former NBA player Jason Collins received a small applause from the opposition crowd when he played in the Nets game in 2014, ten months after announcing his homosexuality. However, there were no other forms of acknowledgment within the arena, and Collins and his teammates downplayed the moment in the news media.
Robbie Rogers, the first MLS player to appear in the game while openly gay, said things felt “normal” in the typical atmosphere of the 2013 Los Angeles Galaxy game.
Nashib said in August that his teammates had been supporting him since he came out. The Raiders declined to comment on the players, but quarterback Derek Carr said the rockers were only a few spots away from Nashib and that nothing was seen to dispute it during the training camp. ..
“When he came in, I just liked watching and no one treated him differently from my point of view,” Kerr said.
Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask said it fits the tradition of a team that has historically embraced diversity. In 1997, she became NFL’s first female CEO. Tom Flores, a Mexican-American, was the first Latino coach to win the Super Bowl in the NFL in the 1980 and 1983 seasons, winning two Raiders.The team also drafted Eldridge Dickey, the first black quarterback taken in the first round in 1968, when the Raiders played in the AFL.
Mr Trusk said he was not focused on the history of the first day or whether his colleagues would change their behavior towards her. She isn’t surprised at how Nashib and the Raiders dealt with last week.
“It’s an organization that has a track record of hiring regardless of race, gender, or other personality, and has nothing to do with being able to work,” Trask said in an interview. “From my point of view, it’s very special that Karl is a raider.
“He went out and worked. It’s a way everyone wants any player to work,” she added.
Raiders’ most famous fan, Wayne Mabry, said that if he keeps doing his job well, Nashib’s sexuality won’t change his player’s perspective. Nicknamed “The Violator” for nearly 30 years, Mabley has been in almost every Raiders home game dressed as a pirate wearing black and silver face paint, leather boots, and spiked shoulder pads. I participated.
It was a compliment he said was partly inspired by the team’s colloquial reputation as the league’s “bad boys.” He said it was irrelevant that gay players belonged to a team with such a historically grainy perception.
“Warriors come in a variety of shapes and sizes,” said 64-year-old Mabry. “It’s about what you bring to the table. As long as he helps us win, he’s a warrior to me.”