New York, NY (August 29, 2019) — Today, NFL free agent Ryan Russell, who played as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, came out as bisexual and hopes to break barriers as an openly LGBTQ NFL player. In a powerful essay for ESPN, Russell writes:
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.
“By speaking out proudly about who he is and refusing to be anything but his full self, Ryan is forever changing the landscape of sport for LGBTQ athletes,” said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “LGBTQ athletes are in every sport, but face tremendous stigma that holds them back from coming out. Today, Ryan shattered that stigma and showed LGBTQ people that they aren’t alone.
Ryan also shines a much-needed light on the lack of visibility and support for bisexual athletes. By coming out as bisexual, Ryan will help more people understand that sexuality is on a spectrum. Ryan’s decision to share his full self with the world plays an important role in creating spaces where every athlete feels free to be themselves, without fear or judgment, and where they will be embraced for who they are.
Athlete Ally sends Ryan our love and support, and we look forward to what lies ahead for him.”