R. K. Russell is a former NFL football player, a social justice advocate, published poet, essayist, and artist. In August of 2019, Russell made history by becoming the first out active NFL player to identify as bisexual. A decorated defensive end who has played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he has sacked Hall of Famers and gone up against the fiercest competitors at the height of their game.
Since coming out, he has written about his experience as a Black queer man in sports for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Out Magazine, and Queer Majority, among others. Russell has been advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in professional sports, spearheading multiple NFL Pride initiatives such as the NFL Pride panel and the NFL’s National Coming Out Day PSA. He has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) by GAY TIMES (U.K.) as Sportsperson of the Year, and he was selected to the prestigious OUT 100 List in 2019. His short documentary, Finding Free, was nominated for best short documentary at the 43rd Annual Sports Emmys and won awards at the 2022 Webby Awards, the 60th New York Film Festival, and the 43rd Annual Telly Awards. He lives in Los Angeles.