Despite the widespread acceptance of LGBTQ people in the U.S., stubbornly few active athletes have come out of the closet. In America’s four major sports leagues, just two – Michael Sam and Jason Collins – come to mind.

John Affleck, who has been practicing and teaching sports journalism for over 30 years, is well aware of the homophobia ingrained in sports. So when Carl Nassib, an established football player for the Las Vegas Raiders, revealed this week that he is gay – and was applauded by the league and his peers – it represented a watershed moment for the hypermasculine NFL and fit a broader, if slow-moving, trend.

Also today:

For Pride Month we’ve put together a series of email newsletters on transgender young people. The four emails, delivered over about a week, recap a series of articles written by leading academics exploring the history, medical care and conflicts, such as youth sports, caused by the rising visibility of transgender teens in society. You can sign up for the newsletters here or click the button below.


Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

After Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay, his jersey became a top-seller on Fanatics, an online retailer of sportswear. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Why it’s such a big deal that the NFL’s Carl Nassib came out as gay

John Affleck, Penn State

The quest to combat discrimination against LGBTQ athletes has been long and fitful, particularly in male team sports.

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