NFL player Ryan Russell has revealed he is bisexual.
With an ESPN self-penned letter, the current free agent described how his last job interview with a team made him realize it was time to reveal his truth after hiding it for so long.
“Out of love, admiration and respect, I want the next team to sign me valuing me for what I do and knowing who I truly am."
Russell, who wants to return to the league after a shoulder injury, revealed he never lied about his sexuality, but did avoid any conversation about it.
"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,” he stated. “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.”
The 27-year-old also went public with his relationship with his boyfriend, posting a picture of them together with the caption: “Hope you find nothing but happiness by living your true to yourself.”
The Purdue University alum says it's his goal to be an openly LGBTQ player in the NFL.
“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."
Russell, who was the Cowboys' fifth-round pick back in 2015, did not play during the 2018-2019 season due to a shoulder injury. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Texas native isn’t the only NFL player speaking about their sexuality and the politics of keeping one’s preference a secret.
Openly gay ex-New England Patriots tackle Ryan O'Callaghan wrote a book, My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me and Ended Up Saving My Life, where he detailed how he tried passing for heterosexual for years for fear of backlash.
After stepping into his authentic self in 2017, O’Callaghan revealed how he often hears from people who are not “out” in the league and who are hesitant to reveal their sexuality.
“A lot of guys still see it as potentially having a negative impact on their career.”
While O'Callaghan said his fear of coming out stemmed from family concerns, he believes contracts, roster positions and fear of gaining or losing sponsorship deals all come into play when deciding to real one’s sexual orientation.
O'Callaghan admitted how the NFL has done “little things” to show support for the LGBTQ community, including sponsoring New York City's Pride Parade, but has yet to provide players with proper help and resources.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images