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LAS VEGAS – In a blizzard of Raiders jerseys at Allegiant Stadium, one in particular stood out.
It was No. 94, and it was worn by Andrew Erazos, a self-identified gay man paying tribute to another gay man.
Carl Nassib, a backup defensive end who wears No. 94 for the Las Vegas Raiders, on Monday was playing in his first regular-season NFL game since he became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Erazos, 60, was here to witness that history -- while attending his first NFL game.
“I’m so excited to be here,’’ Erazos said.
As the Raiders took the field before kickoff, the deafening noise from the crowd made it virtually impossible to hear any of Nassib’s supporters – or detractors. But Erazos, who arrived at the stadium a couple of hours before the game started, said his jersey prompted some reaction.
“I’ve had three or four straight people put their arms around me and go, ‘Right on,’ ” Erazos said.
Erazos, a server at a local steakhouse, said he had seen no other fans wearing jersey No. 94. “But I just ran into a lesbian couple and we had a lovely exchange,” he said. “They saw my jersey.’’
Erazo said the path to his first NFL game began June 21, when Nassib announced publicly that he was gay. Erazos said he immediately went online and bought Nassib’s jersey, even though he’s not an avid football fan.
“I don’t follow it a lot, but when he came out, it struck a chord, and I knew that he was going to be saving lives, quite frankly,’’ Erazos told USA TODAY Sports.
“There’s a lot of kids out there that are going to look up to that and say, ‘Yes! There’s someone else out there that’s like me.’ It just touched me.’’
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Raiders fan at first game to support openly gay DE Carl Nassib