Carl Nassib's coming out should be a norm and not just a label
Yes, Oakland Raiders Defensive End Carl Nassib coming out and announcing to the world he's gay is a big and monumental deal in the world of professional sports.
It has been reported pretty much at every level of the news scale and for the most part, been well received by the world of sports and even on the angry, bitter wasteland of social media.
By all accounts, Nassib is a good dude, respected by his peers and teammates and the reaction in this current world where everyone seemingly hates anyone who disagrees or runs counter to them is a breath of fresh air.
There have been questions, and a few odd cheap shot responses to his statement, but a lot less than you'd think there'd be or likely would have been 10-20 years ago.
And to me, that is what stands out about this issue.
In 2014, University of Missouri DE Michael Sam came out around the time of the NFL Draft, he was picked in the 7th round and though he tried, never actually made an NFL roster. Sam got lots of attention, was interviewed repeatedly. The story was always the same "Can a gay man make a professional football team?" there were also quite a few people who were arguing the Rams, who drafted Sam, couldn't cut him because of his gayness.
Which is utterly ridiculous but that's where we were seven years ago.
This case is different and I'd really like to believe the world has changed and grown up a bit since then.
Nassib has played for the Browns and Buccaneers before settling in with the Raiders where he's been very, very good at his job. He recently agreed to a 3-year, $22 million contract extension. And because of that, it leads me to believe he is going to be judged on his skill and ability as a football instead of how he lives his personal life. Which would be a tremendous victory on multiple levels
There are people in this life from a million different backgrounds. One of the many things that we all seem to forget is not everyone is the same as you or believes in the same things or lives the same life you do. It's a problem getting progressively worse in society these days.
So many are in a hurry to judge or criticize the way someone they may not even know for something they don't like or agree with. I don't pretend to understand why we are so quick to judge others but that's a psychological or sociological discussion for someone better versed in such things.
While yes, Carl Nassib is going to be judged by a large, large amount of people as the first "active" gay football player in reality he should be judged as a football player. He should be looked at and compared to the people who play his position based on his performance--and honestly, nothing else outside of his ability to live his best life and leave a positive impact on others.
That will be the challenge as we live in a society where it still seems like people have to live or operate with the label assigned to them. Athletes, or people in general should be judged solely on their actions and how they live their lives or their ability to live their best life. Nobody should be saddled with "Gay football player" or " transgender tennis player" or any other label. Imagine you going to work and being labeled as "sexist husband and computer programmer" or "drunk insurance agent".
You get the picture there, I hope.
Descriptions of people and professions should not be based on your standard, or mine. Not based on what was acceptable when you were growing up and not based on whether it conforms to your belief system but not theirs. If you grew up in the 1980's and your belief system says you can be rude and crude to women employees because of that---you're in big trouble.
You might be in for a surprise when you find out we are all equal, there is no one lifestyle, religion, political beliefs/identification that makes anyone superior to anyone else. Yes, I know we live in a world with racists, religious zealots and egomaniacs who want you to believe they are the only truth in life. And while those people exist, they are nor ever will be the norm.
If we all only understood or lived like that, the world would be so much a better place.
Carl Nassib should be applauded for having the courage to state who he is and why he is good with it. He should not have had to hide that from anyone at any time. There are millions upon millions of people who hopefully will draw strength and courage knowing someone was willing to step up and be proud of who they are and who they are going to be.
People like Nassib should never have to live in fear either because of their lifestyle, yet they do. They are often persecuted, insulted or ridiculed because they don't adhere to the assigned role a religion, a country or political party assigns them to. The same way your beliefs and willingness to live your life they way you choose, should mean you would afford others those same indisputable rights.
If only life---or the world were that simple.
Thanks for stepping up Carl Nassib, thanks for being willing to be who you are and want to be. I hope that your willingness to do that will lead others to do the same.
We should all be that proud.