Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active player on an NFL roster to come out as gay Monday evening.
During his announcement, Nassib noted he hopes to help cultivate a culture where coming out will eventually be a non-story. For now, Nassib’s decision to announce he is gay remains a groundbreaking moment that featured an incredible display of bravery and courage. But according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, forcing a person to depend on bravery before coming out as gay is an indictment of our society.
“It’s a reminder of the shame that a lot of us should feel for making them feel ashamed or making them feel as if they had to hide who they are,” Smith said Tuesday on First Take. “Really, it’s not just about celebrating [Nassib] for his quote-unquote bravery and courage. It’s an indictment against us as a society for making somebody feel as if bravery and courage is required, just by letting people know who you are and what your sexual orientation may be.”
Assuming Nassib continues his football career this season, he will become the first active member of the NFL to play in a game after coming out. Michael Sam notably announced he was gay before the 2014 NFL Draft, but was cut before the regular season began. Other NFL players have come out but did not discuss their sexual orientation until after their career ended.
“We’re still living under that umbrella,” Smith added. “That shroud of cynicism and skepticism and such a strong level of negativity that we really need to eradicate from our society today.”
Smith later spoke about every group or member of society who has dealt with bigotry and oppression in life. According to Smith, if laws support equality to assure civil rights are afforded to everyone, then “don’t trip over somebody not liking you.”
“No one in this world, no one is going to have universal love,” Smith said. “You got to be able to accept that. The goal should never be to be liked by everybody because it will never going to happen. Accept the fact that there are people who are not gonna approve.”
Watch above via, ESPN
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