The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive end Carl Nassib — pro football’s first openly gay, active player — bringing him back to where he delivered two of his most productive seasons, officials said Tuesday.
Nassib, then of the Las Vegas Raiders, came out a little more than a year ago and made one of the NFL’s most memorable early season plays, sacking the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and forcing a fumble in a dramatic Monday Night Football victory for the Silver & Black.
“He has a lot of versatility, he brings a lot of energy, he brings a lot of toughness,” Bowles told reporters Tuesday. “He understands the (team’s) system. He was comfortable in it, so we look forward to him coming here.”
The acquisition shows that Nassib’s on-the-field production trumps any lingering homophobia, according to Ziegler, who contended that “people claiming that men’s pro sports broadly hate gay athletes (and yes, this is still a claim) simply have no leg to stand on.”