President Joe Biden cheered NFL defensive lineman Carl Nassib and professional soccer star Kumi Yokoyama on Tuesday for their recent decisions to come out, saying the moves would help “countless kids around the world.”
“To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama ― two prominent, inspiring athletes who came out this week: I’m so proud of your courage,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.”
Nassib, who plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player in history to come out as gay, saying Monday that “representation and visibility are so important.”
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” the 28-year-old said in a video posted to Instagram. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I 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.”
A day earlier, Yokoyama, who is from Japan and plays for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League, came out as transgender. In an interview, Yokoyama said their girlfriend helped them come to the decision after moving to the United States.
“When my girlfriend said there was no reason for me to stay closeted, it really hit me,” they said, according to USA Today. “Coming out wasn’t something I was enthusiastic about, but if I think about my life going forward, it would be harder to live closeted, so I found the courage to come out.”
The statements have been widely lauded, and ESPN reported Tuesday that Nassib’s jersey became the NFL’s top-selling item across the league in the 24 hours after he came out.