Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Zach Banner applauded Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib for publicly coming out as gay.
Nassib posted a video on social media revealing his sexuality with the hopes of encouraging a younger generation to be less worried about “coming out.”
“I’m at my house in West Chester Pennsylvania,” Nassib said. “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. I really have the best life, the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for.”
Nassib also added that he will be donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, an organization that helps prevent suicide in LGBTQ+ youth.
Banner spoke with 93.7 The Fan about his support for Nassib. The two played together during their time with the Cleveland Browns.
“Before he even came out, you know he’s not only a good person but a great teammate,” Banner said. “I empathize for not only the gay community but the LGBTQ+ community and everything that really falls underneath the category of someone’s sexuality. In no way or form have I ever discriminated against something like that. I’m not built like that. Honestly, sometimes I really don’t understand how you can hate somebody for who they love and what they do.
“If he was in my locker room, I would totally, completely support him, which a lot of his guys with the Raiders have,” Banner continued. “They’ve done it publicly, and the reasons that that’s important is, some people get pissed off about it, but those are the same people that are kind of really holding us back. Their mindset and opinions are really irrelevant. It’s not so much just a support in Carl, but supporting kids like Carl who don’t have that outlet, who sometimes don’t have that support, who don’t have the financial means to be just fine with living their lifestyle regardless of what anybody cares about it. Who are bullied. Who are sometimes forced into suicide and to hurting themselves.”
Banner compared the support for the LGBTQ+ community to those dealing with prejudice in the Black Lives Matter movement and all fights against hate. “It’s all in the same thing.”
“To focus on the bravery and just awesomeness that Carl displayed last night for sticking out on his own, I commend that, I support that and I back that,” Banner said. “It’s stuff like that needs to keep happening in the NFL.”
Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.
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