How the Boston Globe trolled gay football player Carl Nassib with its choice of photo

Yesterday, Carl Nassib, defensive lineman for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, revealed on Instagram that he was gay. Most of the photos in articles about the news were straightforward — but the Boston Globe decided to play some childish subliminal tricks.

Nassib’s announcement was historic because he’s the first gay NFL player to come out during his playing career. His courage will doubtless help other gay participants in sports and other male- or female-dominated arenas to participate without hiding who they are.

Most of the articles about Nassib’s announcement included simple head-shots or action shots as photo illustrations. For example, the New York Times posted his actual coming-out video from Instagram, with shots like this:

ESPN had this handsome shot:

And the LA Times chose this action photo:

How the Boston Globe’s trolled Nassib

In the Boston Globe‘s print edition, the article ran without a photo. But here’s what you’d see if you looked at it online.

Notice anything, umm, unusual about that photo choice for a gay athlete?

Maybe I’m just seeing things. Or maybe somebody thought a picture of Nassib tackling a five-foot penis in practice was just too tempting.

The same photo appeared in Al Jazeera and the St. Louis Tribune. But no other major news organization used it.

It’s 2021, people. Don’t choose photos in major news organizations as if you’re a giggling ten-year-old.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. People see all kinds of things when they try to interpret photos. I found the ESPN “diva” pose and the LA Times “limp wrist” to be more overt trolling than the Boston Globe image.

  2. Nassib is a non-star player. There are not a lot of file pictures available on short notice.
    The Globe photo is the only ‘action’ picture that I saw on a Google Image search for him.
    I think you are seeing things – this a legit piece of football training equipment.