Carl Nassib came out last offseason via a brief social media video. It made him the first openly gay NFL player.
There were criticisms that this wasn’t important or something no one needed to know. There were accusations he was just seeking publicity. Some even accused him of using his announcement to ensure he wouldn’t be cut this year by the Las Vegas Raiders.
Nassib, however, has said little since that day. He’s just done his job, and done it pretty well.
Through five games he’s racked up seven solo tackles, two sacks and caused a memorable season-opening fumble by Lamar Jackson that helped the Raiders beat Baltimore. Pro Football Focus metrics rank him the 30th-best edge defender in the league this season.
So, no, this hasn’t been a publicity stunt or job security play.
It’s been far more important than that.
Consider that until Monday, Nassib’s head coach was Jon Gruden, who in emails uncovered during a tangential NFL investigation freely used homophobic slurs and insults. He additionally took considerable umbrage when, back in 2014, he felt the NFL was forcing the drafting of “queers” – in that case, University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam.
To Gruden, being gay was a negative, a pejorative, a shameful putdown. To Gruden, Michael Sam wasn’t a long-shot NFL prospect (the seventh round and training camp invites are filled with wild gambits). He wasn’t a young guy trying to break through. Sam was nothing more than his sexuality.
Does he still think that? Did being confronted with Carl Nassib in the locker room change anything? Did coaching a dedicated team guy and reliable late game player alter Gruden’s view of homosexuals, at least a little?
Maybe. Hope so.
Maybe not though.
Gruden has been surrounded by and coached African Americans for years. Yet in 2011, when the NFL and the NFLPA were involved in tense labor negotiations, Gruden didn’t just criticize union head DeMaurice Smith, who is African American, for his…
Source : yahoo