Bisexual football star Ryan Russell says being out will make him a better player
NFL veteran Ryan Russell, who revealed last month that he’s bisexual, has said that he will be a better football player now that he has come out.
The 27-year-old football star previously played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but is currently a free agent and hoping to be signed by a new team.
Speaking to CNN on Friday, he said that a “weight” had lifted and he believes that when he signs with a team he will be a “better teammate”.
He said: “Once I finally felt ready to come out and felt ready to express who I was, I just felt a weight lifted. I became a better brother. I became a better son. I believe I’ll be a better teammate.”
NFL free agent Ryan Russell said being closeted meant he was a “step behind”.
Russell continued: “In professional sports everybody talks about the mental edge, everybody is so gifted and so talented physically, and that mental edge is what really takes a player and a team to the next level.
“If you’re constantly focused on fears or hiding a part of yourself or have your focus on anything other than your sport, your opponent and your craft, then you won’t be as effective.
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“You’ll be a step behind, you’ll be a step slower. You won’t be as decisive when it comes to critical decision-making that happens in a split second on the field.”
When asked whether a team will “allow” him to be openly bisexual, he responded: “I believe the NFL is in a great position to be the hero of this story, I believe the NFL is ready to support an openly LGBT+ athlete, I know they have the resources.
“A player that is focused on winning and creating a winning culture, their sexuality doesn’t matter… You can’t support an openly LGBTQ player if there are no openly LGBTQ players.
“Someone has to take that first step.”
Russell came out in a moving essay for ESPN last month, in which he said: “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.”