Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end has come out as bisexual.
Russell, who is currently an NFL free agent, explains in a piece for ESPN, that he decided to come out about his sexual orientation as he’s had enough of struggling to keep the truth about himself a secret.
The 27-year-old, 6 feet 5 inch, 267-pound former Cowboys pass rusher, said his experience during a recent job interview forced him to the conclusion that he has to disclose his sexual orientation in the hope that he can continue in the NFL as an openly LGBTQ player.
He said he felt it was important for prospective NFL employers to know about his sexuality and added that he hoped he can be allowed to be open about it without negative consequences for his career.
In the piece for ESPN, Russell also shared details about his encounter with a “well-known blogger” who, after discovering that he was dating another man, threatened to expose him. Russell said that when he pleaded with the blogger not to out him, the blogger responded, saying he would “grant [Russell] this favor,” and warned him to be careful in the future.
The tone of the interaction offended Russell.
“Nobody should need a favor to live honestly,” he wrote. “The career you choose shouldn’t dictate the parts of yourself that you embrace.”
“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 continued
“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,” he added.
Russell’s decision to come out as bisexual is significant because it is still very rare for NFL players to come out as LGBTQ.
Russell’s boyfriend is Cory O’Brien, a professional dancer. Russell and O’Brien have launched a YouTube channel together.
After publishing his ESPN piece, Russell also took to Instagram to introduce his fans and followers to O’Brien.
O’Brien also posted a color version of the same photo to his Instagram.
Russell is a three-year NFL veteran. He played one season with the Cowboys in 2015 and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016-2017) after being drafted out of Purdue. He was a Dallas Cowboys fifth-round pick in 2015. He sat out the 2018 season due to a severe shoulder injury and he is currently unsigned.