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Web Page R.K. Russell

R.K. Russell
Photo credit: Maxwell Poth

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, Russell 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 public service announcement. He has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign and by Gay Times as sportsperson of the year, and he was selected for the prestigious Out100 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. Russell’s new memoir, “The Yards Between Us: A Memoir of Life, Love and Football,” will be featured at the 2023 National Book Festival.

Selected Works at the Library of Congress

Appearances at the 2023 National Book Festival

Videos from the 2023 National Book Festival