Before defensive end Carl Nassib announced he was gay in June 2021, he agonized over the decision, he says.
Nassib, who is a free agent after being released by the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this year, told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Michael Strahan in an interview that aired Tuesday that he "stared at the phone for, like, an hour just looking at it, trying to hype myself up.
"The last thing I said was like, 'You know what -- for the kids.' And pressed post."
Nassib, who was a third-round draft pick by the Browns in 2016, became the first openly gay active player in the NFL. He told Strahan he wasn't concerned about reaction from his teammates, reiterating that he "was met with the most incredible support."
"I just wanted to show that it really doesn't matter -- your sexual orientation," he said.
Noting that he had some "difficult times" while considering making a public announcement, Nassib, 29, said he wants to tell kids who might be struggling that "they have support from a massive community of people.
"We are making strides in a positive direction," he said. "It won't be a perfect road, and we just have to continue the course and make sure that we do it from a place of love and not from a place of animosity."
He added that he hopes announcements like his eventually will not be necessary and that people won't be afraid of coming out.
"That's the society I hope for one day," he said. "And I hope I can be a positive push in that direction."
In March, the Raiders donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention charity for LGBTQ+ youth. The donation matched the contribution Nassib made at the time of his announcement.
Nassib, who started five of 27 games for the Raiders and had four combined sacks and an interception, said he has "so much love for Las Vegas." For his playing future, he said, "The best scenario for me is, like, the best opportunity to show what I got. Got a lot in the tank."