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Whitlock: Gay NFL player Carl Nassib sparks penis envy and nothing more

Op-ed
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

I'm going to need additional proof of Carl Nassib's amazing courage.

From my vantage point, the 27-year-old Las Vegas Raiders defensive end looks more like a Colin Kaepernick variant than a Jackie Robinson strain.

Robinson, the baseball star, was a courageous trailblazer, opening doors for equal opportunity against a horrific backlash of bigotry. Kaepernick was and is an opportunist, a frustrated athlete who joined the "Alphabet Mafia" (BLM) for protection.

Rather than deal with the ramifications of his NFL fall from grace, Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem and blamed white racism for the collapse of his dream. Kap isn't unique. Few people — of any color — attribute their failures to the man or woman in the mirror.

Carl Nassib is not unique either. Nor is he heroic. He's simply putting a twist on the Kaepernick playbook.

By announcing on Instagram that he prefers to have sex with men, Nassib — listed as third string on the Raiders' depth chart — increased his likelihood of making the team's roster tenfold. He increased his chances of moving up the depth chart twentyfold. He increased his attractiveness to corporate advertisers a hundredfold.

In modern America, joining the Alphabet Mafia (LGBTQIA+) has more privileges than American Express. The Alphabet Mafia is LifeLock, a guarantee of your good name and the security of your finances while you sleep.

Nassib is untouchable. He and his agency, CAA (the don of dons in the Alphabet Mafia), are playing 3D chess.

In 2020, the Raiders signed Nassib as a free agent, handing him a three-year, $25 million contract with $16 million in guarantees. Nassib underperformed. He played the fewest number of snaps in his five-year, three-team career. He was mediocre against the run and as a pass-rusher (2.5 sacks).

This off season, the Raiders acquired veteran defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (two years, $26 million) and drafted defensive end Malcolm Koonce in the third round. Las Vegas already has 2019 No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell and 2019 overachiever Maxx Crosby at right defensive end.

Nassib is from a football family. His dad played college football. So did both of his brothers, including an older brother who briefly played quarterback in the NFL. Nassib can do the calculus on the Raiders' roster and what he's up against in a critical season for him financially. If he has another season like last year, the Raiders will surely dump him and his career will likely come to an end.

His decision to become a made man in the Alphabet Mafia couldn't be more perfectly timed.

There will be a lot of pressure on Raiders coach Jon Gruden to put the team's brand-new media darling on the field so that broadcasters can pretend that where Nassib places his penis in the privacy of his home elevates his character and courage above his peers.

I don't see enhanced character or courage. I'm sorry. And I'm not homophobic. Not any more. When I was a kid, all the way through college, I was as dumb and homophobic as most of my football-playing peers.

Now? How consenting adults pleasure themselves sexually is irrelevant to me. Many of us, whether gay or straight, pleasure ourselves in sinful ways. I don't view my sexual sins as any more or less sinful than Nassib's. I'm fine letting God judge.

I'm also aware that there was a time not long ago when this society's hostility toward homosexuals was repugnant and inhumane. That time has passed. We've corrected that. The pendulum has now swung to the point that our society gives extra credit points to those who prefer same-sex.

Carl Nassib is aware of this swing. He's not tennis star Martina Navratilova living her truth against a wave of disapproval. He's not even Michael Sam entering the NFL after kissing his boyfriend on national TV.

Nassib is cashing in. His announcement that he prefers sex with men was greeted by thunderous applause everywhere, from the commissioner's office to the playing field and all across social media. Virtually no one had heard of Carl Nassib before he made his non-historic proclamation on Instagram.

Now major corporations will make it rain on Nassib. Corporate media outlets will deify and protect him the way they have George Floyd, Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, and all the other Alphabet Mafia members.

What excites Carl Nassib's penis has transformed an average NFL player into one of the most important people in sports.

If Kim Kardashian excites you, your penis envy is justified.
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