Carl Nassib, NFL’s First Openly Gay Player, Sits Out Practice Following Gruden Email Controversy

Carl Nassib
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Carl Nassib, the NFL’s first openly gay player, was one of Jon Gruden’s best defenders up until recently. Now, after Gruden’s resignation following the revelation of emails that contained gay slurs, Nassib has decided he needs some time to “process” his emotions.

On Wednesday, Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock announced that Nassib had requested and received a personal day due to the anti-gay language Gruden used in his email.

“He just said he’s got a lot to process,” Mayock told the media. “There’s a lot that’s been going on the last few days. And of course, we support that request.”

In a series of emails obtained during a sexual harassment investigation of the Washington Football Team, Gruden wrote to then-WFT General Manager Bruce Allen calling Commissioner Roger Goodell a “f*gg*t.” The emails also revealed other racist and misogynistic language.

While it first appeared as though Gruden would survive the scandal, ultimately, the coach decided to step down to avoid becoming a “distraction.”

“I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” Gruden said in a statement Monday night. “Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders argues a call during the second half of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium on...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders argues a call during the second half of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Dolphins 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Nassib publicly announced that he was gay in June.

“What’s up people,” Nassib said in an Instagram post. “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest.”

Nassib continued, “I really have the best life. I’ve got the best family, friends, and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I’m not doing this for attention, but I think representation matters.”

In the emails, Gruden also said it was wrong for the NFL to pressure the then-St. Louis Rams into drafting a “queer” player. The Rams selected Missouri’s Michael Sam, who had recently announced that he was gay, in the 7th round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Gruden, for his part, neve criticized Nassib for coming out as gay. In fact, he celebrated Nassib’s clutch play against the Ravens.

“That was big. He made us a big play at the end of the game,” Gruden said. “He’s had a great training camp, and we’re going to need him here obviously as we move forward.”

Gruden was 22-30 since returning to the sidelines as Raiders head coach in 2018. Gruden’s first head coaching job was also with the Raiders. A position he held until 2002 when he left to take over the Buccaneers.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.