Ryan Russell made news yesterday when he “came out” as bisexual. However, some folks seemed less obsessed with his sexual orientation and more obsessed that his boyfriend is white.
After pro football player Ryan Russell told ESPN in an interview published Thursday that he was “a bisexual man.” The free agent defensive end went on to describe his efforts to secure a contract for the upcoming NFL season and how important it was for him to be completely honest about who he was while meeting with teams.
“Today, I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly,” Russell said in the interview. “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 went on to explain that he wanted “to change” the stigma around “openly LGBTQ player[s]” in pro sports for the benefit of “generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”
However, he is getting heat that the 27-year-old is partner with a man who isn’t Black. See the image of his boyfriend below:
Michael Sam, who became the NFL’s first openly gay player after being drafted in 2014 (unfortunately, he never played a single game). Also, got backlash when he went public with his boyfriend at the time.
One disgruntled user wrote, “Wanted to be excited that Ryan Russell came out as bisexual. As a proud Black, East Asian, and Caribbean bi dude I was happy that another person of color had broken down that wall but alas, you guessed it, his partner is white. This shit is sick and an epidemic at this point.”
Another user wrote, “It’s more acceptable to be in the spotlight and be gay when you dating a white person. He would have been taking down if he was black and that’s the sad part.”
However, one user who goes by @mkhlgrant had another perspective, “Ok, since the gay–black-men-dating conversation is coming up again today, a thread: The very phenomenon of a famous black queer man catching negative attention for dating a white person shows the problem in itself. A lot of you only check for men deemed relevant.”
Nonetheless, the backlash is real. See just some of the tweets below.