Former NFL Players Ryan Russell Opens Up On His Sexuality
Former NFL player, Ryan Russell, a three-year veteran who plays defensive end, announced he is bisexual in a ESPN story. Russell, a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, says the decision to open up was so that he could freely express himself, including his sexuality to his prospective employers. Keeping his bisexuality a secret took its toll on Russell.
“Pursuing a career in the NFL is such an intense challenge that I began to compromise my personal world — and my personal happiness. Though I confided in close friends and family and gave myself permission to date both men and women discreetly, I deprived myself the basic privilege of living an open life.”
“During the season you spend more time with your team than with your own family; truth and honesty are the cornerstones of a winning culture. My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man.”
Russell spoke about being nearly outted in the media,
“Even though openly LGBTQ people are thriving in every area of public life — politics, entertainment, the top corporations in America — they are so invisible in pro sports that a gossip blogger is doing a favor for a bisexual football player by not disclosing that he happens to date men. Nobody should need a favor to live honestly. In nobody’s worlds should being careful mean not being yourself. The career you choose shouldn’t dictate the parts of yourself that you embrace.”
Russell told ESPN his hope is a simple one: That players can be open about their sexuality and still be accepted in the NFL.
“There are a lot of problems in the world, and a lot of issues facing the NFL. And I can say with confidence that LGBTQ players having the comfort to be themselves, date who they want, share parts of their life with friends and teammates will not rank among those issues.”
In his own Instagram post, Russell shared a photo of he and his boyfriend, YouTuber Corey O’Brien. He writes,
”Love is faithful. Love is kind. It doesn’t brag or boast. But when I tell the world you’re mine, I tend to brag the most.”
He was eventually released from the practice squad in Dallas and halfway through the 2016 season he finished the year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in 14 games for the Buccaneers in 2017, making 17 tackles and two sacks.
Check out a video of Russell and his boyfriend making their adorable announcement:
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