Podcast: NFL Player Comes Out, 1st Trans Contestant Heads To Miss USA Pageant

In this episode: the NFL's homophobic email scandal, Pete Buttigieg claps back, and new music from out singer/songwriter Michael Lazar.

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• NFL player Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders comes out as gay

• Supreme Court ruling addresses religious-based foster care programs & same-sex couples

• An accident at a South Florida Pride event results in tragedy

Sesame Street has its first same-sex family

• History as the first transgender contestant heads to the Miss USA pageant

• A glorious new take on the iconic queer anthem ‘I Am What I Am’ – click here for music video

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

News Round-Up: June 28, 2021

(Courtesy of Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer)

Some news items you might have missed:

NYC Pride: It was nice to see Pride events return to NYC this past weekend. Rainbows were everywhere in the city from Rockefeller Center (above) to Washington Square and everywhere else. And ABC News covered the entire 3-hour parade! You can watch it here.

CNN: California will ban state-funded travel to five new states (Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) over their “discriminatory” LGBTQ laws, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Monday, citing the importance of “aligning our dollars with our values.”

Right Wing Watch: Right-wing pastor Greg Locke used his sermon on Sunday to allege that there are child-trafficking “tunnels” under the Capitol and White House and accuse Joe Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Hanks of being “a bunch of pedophiles.” This is a seriously hot cup of crazy. Hit the play button.

TMZ: In a recent interview praising Las Vegas Raider Carl Nassib for coming out, former NFL player Bruce Smith said there was a gay player (maybe two) on the 1990s Buffalo Bills teams but it “didn’t matter to us.”

NY Daily News: 24 people at a Sydney, Australia birthday party tested positive for the COVID delta variant. Only 6 party attendees — health care workers — were spared. Only those 6 were vaccinated.

Twitter: Donald Trump Jr., son of ‘the former guy,’ posted a wild, slurring, disjointed rant against President Joe Biden that careened from claims about hacking McDonald’s to Biden giving the nuclear football to Putin. The Twitterverse didn’t know what to think of the seemingly drunken/stoned performance.

New NFL Ad: ‘Football Is Gay’

A new ad from the NFL boldly declares "football is gay" along with a whole lot of other identifiers

A new ad from the NFL boldly declares "football is gay" along with a whole lot of other identifiers

A new ad spot from the NFL boldly declares “Football is gay.”

Set to a raucous drum solo, the text of the ad continues: “Football is lesbian. Football is beautiful. Football is queer. Football is life. Football is exciting. Football is culture. Football is transgender. Football is queer. Football is heart. Football is power. Football is tough. Football is bisexual. Football is strong. Football is freedom. Football is American. Football is accepting. Football is everything. Football is for everyone.”

The spot closes with a message of support for The Trevor Project, the nation’s leading suicide support group for LGBTQ youth.

The text quotes studies which have shown, “LGBTQ+ youth with at least one accepting adult have 40% lower risk of attempting suicide.”

Following the recent coming out announcement from Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, it would seem the NFL wants to make clear its support.

Sam Rapoport, NFL senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion, told Outsports, “I am proud of the clear message this spot sends to the NFL’s LGBTQ+ fans: This game is unquestionably for you. I will be playing its first line over and over in my head all season.”

News Round-Up: June 22, 2021

Some news items you might have missed:

New York Times: Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked the most ambitious voting rights legislation to come before Congress in a generation, using the filibuster to deal a blow to a bid by President Biden and Democrats to counter a wave of state-level ballot restrictions. The vote to begin debate on the bill failed with 50 Democratic votes and 50 Republican votes.

Washington Post: The Vatican has taken a highly unusual step against its neighbor, sending a diplomatic note to the Italian government that protests a draft law aimed at preventing hate and violence against LGBT people.

Instagram: When Las Vegas Raiders DE Carl Nassib came out as gay yesterday, he announced he was making a $100K donation to The Trevor Project and challenged others to contribute as well. The NFL says it will match his donation with another $100K to The Trevor Project.

Justice Department: James Dale Reed, age 42, of Frederick, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to threatening then-former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in October 2020. Reed left a letter on the doorstep of a Maryland resident which also stated, “…if you are a Biden/Harris supporter you will be targeted. We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs. We are the ones with those scary guns. We are the ones your children have nightmares about…”

The Advocate: The group behind Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Pride celebration has disbanded and canceled this year’s festivities due to a controversy. Philly Pride Presents had been criticized for a transphobic Facebook post that cast police as victims in the Stonewall riots.

Out Music: Acclaimed singer-songwriter, producer, and DJ Planningtorock (aka Jam Rahouja Rostron) released their new single, “Gay Dreams Do Come True,” which is also the title track to their upcoming new EP of the same name.

About the euphoric new track, Planningtorock says, “This song is a dedication to my love, my wife Riinu and too the Black trans women who fought for the rights we have today as queer, gay, non binary lesbians.”

Thinking About Our Other NFL ‘First’ Michael Sam

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL
Michael Sam, the first out player drafted in the NFL (image via Instagram)

It’s been an exciting, uplifting time in the hours since Carl Nassib, defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, came out as gay in an Instagram post on Monday.

In a video message Nassib shared, “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 enough to get it off my chest.”

The 6’7” five-year veteran of the NFL added that he knows “representation and visibility are so important.” He also announced a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.

In less than a day, Nassib’s Instagram account grew from around 27K followers to over 245K followers. Fun fact: the 28-year-old doesn’t follow anyone on the Gram of Insta.

But it’s hard to not think of Michael Sam in this heady time.

Sam, as many remember, famously came out as gay in advance of the 2104 NFL draft.

After a stellar season for the University of Missouri in 2013, he was a first-team All-American and named the Associated Press co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference. Teammates voted him Missouri’s most valuable player.

At that time, only one player who had earned that honor had been selected outside the top 33 picks at an NFL draft. When Sam came out the New York Times noted that he was “projected to be chosen in the early rounds of the N.F.L.”

But months later, Sam sweated through hours and hours of the draft until finally, in the 7th and final round, the St. Louis Rams made him their next to last pick. Sam was number 249 out of 256 at that NFL draft.

In the end, Sam was cut by the Rams before the regular season. He was picked up for the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but a month later he was released. He never made it to a 53-man roster in the NFL.

Conor Orr, for Sports Illustrated, writes, “Sam, essentially, gave up his dream of playing football to be the league and media’s crash test dummy, as everyone in football’s orbit pinballed through ways to have thoughtful and productive conversations about sexuality and acceptance in the locker room.”

In 2015, Sam was signed by the Montreal Alouettes and on August 7, 2015, he became the first out gay player to play in a CFL regular season game. He announced his retirement from football a week later due to mental health reasons. He currently shares his experiences as a motivational speaker.

Still a class act, early this morning Sam tweeted his congratulations to Nassib.

“Carl Nassib thank you for owning your truth and especially your donation to the @TrevorProject,” wrote Sam. “LBGTQ people are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. I hope and pray people will take note to this. Thank you again Carl and look forward to seeing you play on the field.”

Less than an hour later, Sam followed that with another message – this time to victims of bullying:

“To anyone young or old, black or white, straight or gay are being bullied by others please know this, I stand with you in your time of need and in your hour of triumph, I am your friend and your brother,” tweeted Sam. “Even though I may never see you, hug you, or even kiss you, I love you.”

Some wonder if Nassib might experience some of what Sam saw during his short time in the NFL. But there are big differences between the two scenarios.

One, Nassib is already a veteran NFL player with five seasons under his belt. His team, coaches and front office already know him.

And, last year he signed a three-year $25 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s hard to imagine Nassib’s value to the Raiders suddenly taking a dive.

Plus, we’re 7 years past Sam’s NFL experience. In that time, marriage equality has become the law of the land. And while LGBTQ equality isn’t quite there yet, we are making progress forward thanks in great part to that increased visibility Nassib mentioned in his coming out.

Folks in the Twitterverse did take some time to recognize Michael Sam and his journey as “the first.”

Carl Nassib Of The Las Vegas Raiders Comes Out As Gay

Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders came out as gay on Monday becoming the first active openly gay player in the NFL.
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders came out as gay on Monday becoming the first active openly gay player in the NFL.
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders (image via Instagram)

Carl Nassib, of the Las Vegas Raiders (my town!!!), has come out as gay becoming the first openly gay active player in the NFL.

“What’s up people,” Nassib wrote on Instagram. “I’m at my house in West Chester Pennsylvania. 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.”

“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m not doing this for attention,” he continued. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.”

“I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are not necessary, but until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization, they’re the number one suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America and they’re truly doing incredible things. I’m very excited to be a part of it and help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”

Nassib also included this message following his video:

The Raiders and the NFL tweeted their support immediately after Nassib’s message was posted.

Nassib played for Penn State in college. This fall will be his 6th season in the NFL – his second with the Raiders. He previously playing for the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Buccaneers.

According to stats, Nassib has 20.5 career sacks in the NFL.

There has never been an openly gay or bi active player who has played a down in an NFL regular season game.

Michael Sam was drafted in 2014 but never made a roster. In the history of the NFL, there have been 15 players who came out but only after playing.

News Round-Up: January 21, 2021

Dozens of Broadway performers took part in 'Seasons of Love' at the Biden Inaugural Concert
No presidential pardon for the Tiger King plus dozens of Broadway performers took part in 'Seasons of Love' at the Biden Inaugural Concert
Broadway at the Biden Inaugural Concert

Some news items you might have missed:

CNN: Out news anchor Shep Smith has broken his silence about his departure from Fox News. Now at CNBC, Smith says he stayed as long as he did in order to try and counterbalance the misinformation coming out of the right-leaning network.

Broadway at the Inaugural: I was thrilled to see this beautiful collaboration debut during last night’s Biden Inaugural Concert (above). I know several folks in this but five I have longtime ties with: Tony Award winners Betty Buckley, Chita Rivera, and Leslie Uggams, as well as Tony Award nominees Vanessa Williams and Charlotte d’Amboise.

Charlotte gives you LIFE dancing in the center during the last minute. #LovedIt

Outsports: 39 current NFL players on 22 teams say they have already had an out gay teammate, including six players with the Arizona Cardinals.

Instinct Magazine: Tiger King star Joe Maldonado-Passage (a.k.a Joe Exotic) truly believed Donald Trump would issue him a presidential pardon on his last day in office. The Tiger King was so sure the pardon was coming he had a limo standing by to pick him up at the prison.

HuffPost: An 18-year veteran police officer, most recently with the Houston Police Department, stormed the U.S. Capitol and then tried to cover his tracks by deleting photos from inside the rotunda and lying about his conduct.

Twitter: First Lady Dr. Jill Biden shares her first video message thanking service members, first responders, civil servants.