Today's NFL is far from perfect. However, it's important to recognize when someone behind the shield is making history. Carl Nassib jumped on Instagram to tell the world his truth. He's an active gay football player playing for the Las Vegas Raiders. I can remember when Micheal Sam, S.E.C. Defensive Player of the Year and 7th round draft pick for the St. Louis Rams was drafted. He told the world he was gay. At time I was playing for the NY Jets. People close to me would ask how would I feel if I had an openly gay teammate. My response was always I don't care, it's his life not mine as long he takes care of business on Sunday. What I didn't acknowledge was the mental health aspect. Anytime I wanted to air out my feelings about my love life I had the guys in the locker room to talk to. We loved to talk about our families and all the bullshit our wives put us through. The single guys loved to talk about the wild nights they had with random women. The bottom line is we all had an outlet. The question now is with all the overwhelming support from players around the league, will there be an outlet for Carl Nassib to talk about his relationship issues or wild nights out on the town inside the locker room?
When you read Carl Nassib's statement, he isn't just doing it for himself, he's doing it for the those people out there who are still at war with themselves. Maybe with Carl breaking his silence, that inner circle of those in sports who still don't feel comfortable telling their truth will be ready to be more transparent. Men and women like Carl and the community he represents have been in the shadows for far too long. Representation matters now more than ever. I had never heard of the Trevor Project, but when you find out about the work they have done and the lives they have saved it's groundbreaking. When this story broke, I couldn't help but to think about D. Wade and how he stood up for his son. He publicly welcomed his son's transformation. For me, it was the ultimate sign of true love. D. Wade sent a message to all fathers who are struggling with their child's truth. We have to remember love has no face, status, or religion. We all have dreams of what we want our sons and daughters to become but the truth is you have to be prepared to love him or her for who they are and who they are destined to be. As a society, our ultimate goal should be to promote the ability to live an authentic life. Carl Nassib deserves all the praise in the world. I just pray others can find the same strength he did to be one with themselves and help make this breaking news a normality.