Ryan Russel, a former defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first openly LGBT major professional male sports player when he came out as bisexual in an essay published by ESPN.
The 27-year-old is the only currently active LGBT male athlete in any of the four major professional leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, according to Metro Weekly. Russel is now a free-agent, meaning he hasn’t signed to a team since playing for the Buccaneers.
“I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly,” he wrote in his essay. “Those two objectives shouldn’t be in conflict. But judging from the fact that there isn’t a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL, brings me pause. I want to change that — for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”