Words: Steve Brown
Ryan Russell believes the NFL is ready to support an openly LGBTQ athlete.
The American footballer has played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earlier this year, he came out as bisexual in a moving piece in ESPN as well as revealing his boyfriend on Instagram.
Currently, there are no currently out gay or bisexual players in the NFL, making him the first ever playing player.
And while speaking to CNN, Russell admitted he thinks the NFL is ready to support an LGBTQ player.
He said: “If you’re focused on hiding a part of yourself or…anything other than your sport, your opponent and your craft, then you won’t be as effective. You’ll be a step behind, you’ll be a step slower.
“Once I finally felt ready to come out, I just felt a weight lifted. I became a better brother. I became a better son. I believe I’ll be a better teammate.
“I believe the NFL is in a great position to be the hero in this story.
“I believe the NFL is ready to support an openly LGBT athlete.
“I know they have the resources to control any time of media hailstorm or distraction.
“You can’t support an openly LGBTQ player if there are no openly LGBTQ players. … Someone has to take that first step.”
Watch Russell speak to CNN below: