NFL free agent Ryan Russell shared his sexual orientation in a moving essay and revealed that he was bisexual. The 27-year-old defensive end believes that the league is ready to accept a play that is part of the LGBTQ community.
Russell, who has played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, penned the essay for ESPN. As of now, he is the only male athlete across the four major sports leagues to come out as LGBTQ.
Have I lied to teammates, coaches, trainers, front-office executives and fans about who I am? Not exactly. But withholding information is a form of deceit. And I want the next part of my career — and life — steeped in trust and honesty. 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.
Today, I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly. I want to live my dream of playing the game I’ve worked my whole life to play, and being open about the person I’ve always been.
Those two objectives shouldn’t be in conflict. But judging from the fact that there isn’t a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL, brings me pause. I want to change that — for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.
The reaction to Russell’s essay on Twitter had the player’s name trending on the social media network. We’ve collected some of the responses from Twitter for viewing below.