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These 61 current NFL players, 13 owners and 9 head coaches support gay and bi athletes

RK Russell talks about the importance of all of them showing support, and hoping for more.

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Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
Adam Thielen has talked about his aunt who is LGBT. He and several Minnesota Vikings are just part of the group of men in the NFL who have expressed support for the community.
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

When NFL player RK Russell — who came out as bi three years ago — took to Twitter recently asking his followers what active NFL players had publicly supported the LGBT community, he got a bunch of responses. Some wondered if there were any, others jumped in with names of players, media members, coaches and others.

Among others, it drew a response from retired NFL player and two-time Super Bowl champ Chris Long — who played on the Rams with Michael Sam — proclaiming his support for the LGBT community:

It left us wondering just how many current NFL players, owners and head coaches have done something similar. Over the last few days we’ve worked with Russell to dig deeper into the question, and we’ve come up with a pretty good list of people across the NFL who are supporters.

Why is this even important?

Russell said he believes “allies” are incredibly valuable to any social-justice movement, and he’s looking forward to seeing the impact of more and more of them in the sports world in the coming months and years.

“The silent majority of sports legends have yet to speak out in favor of LGBTQ+ sports, and I’m sure it is not due to homophobia but a lack of knowledge and fear,” said Russell, who is also the author of his upcoming memoir, The Yards Between Us.

“Let’s encourage them with open arms of understanding and the freedom to grow, and celebrate those who have shown support, regardless of their level of commitment, to encourage more athletes to do the same whether to be LGBTQ+, closeted, or allies. We can encourage our athletes to do more but it only seems fair to acknowledge how far the world of male professional sports has come.”

Russell is one of 16 current or former NFL players to come out publicly as gay or bi. That number is more than the other four Big Five American men’s pro sports leagues combined. Despite that fact, Outsports readers perceive the NFL to be the most inhospitable to LGBT people.

Below we’ve listed current NFL players, team owners and head coaches who have — with their actions and/or words — demonstrated support for the LGBT community, gay athletes, fans and anyone else in between. Many other now-former players have expressed support; This list features only players still in the league, on a team or currently looking for a roster spot.

All of this is in addition to Roger Goodell — the NFL commissioner and the most powerful person in American sports — who has for 10 years talked publicly many times about his support for the LGBT community, including his gay brother.

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has also expressed support on behalf of the players union.

Plus in more general terms, shortly after coming out publicly, Carl Nassib praised his then-teammates on the Raiders as being supportive. Some of them have spoken publicly about their support.

Here are the people we currently know publicly support the LGBT community in some way:

Active NFL Players

Arizona Cardinals

DeAndre Hopkins, WR
JJ Watt, DE
Matt Prater, K
Trey McBride, TE

Atlanta Falcons

Casey Heyward, CB

Baltimore Ravens

Calais Campbell, DT
Marlon Humphrey, CB

Carolina Panthers

Johnny Hekker, P
Preston Williams, WR

Chicago Bears

Dante Pettis, WR

Cincinnati Bengals

John Karras, C

Dallas Cowboys

Anthony Barr, OL
Jonathan Hankins, DL
Matt Overton, LS

Denver Broncos

Jarrod Fleming, OT
Anthony Harris, S
Brandon McManus, K
Dalton Risner, OG
Russell Wilson, QB

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers, QB

Indianapolis Colts

Nick Foles, QB

Kansas City Chiefs

Joe Thuney, OG

Las Vegas Raiders

Davante Adams, WR
Clelin Ferrell, DE
Darren Waller, TE
Derek Carr, QB

Los Angeles Chargers

Chase Daniel, QB

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins, QB
Harrison Smith, S
Adam Thielen, WR

New England Patriots

Kendrick Bourne, WR
James Ferentz, C

New Orleans Saints

Jordan Howard, RB
Jarvis Landry, WR

New York Giants

Saquon Barkley, RB
Richie James, WR
Trenton Thompson, S
Leonard Williams, DT

New York Jets

Solomon Thomas, DL

Philadelphia Eagles

Robert Quinn, DE

San Francisco 49ers

Maurice Hurst, DT
Kyle Juszczyk, FB
George Kittle, TE

Tennessee Titans

Robert Woods, WR

Free Agents

Zach Banner, OT
Odell Beckham Jr, WR
AJ Bouye, RB
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
Cole Croston, OT
Tae Davis, LB
TY Hilton, WR
Janoris Jenkins, CB
Colin Kaepernick, QB
Kyle Long, OG
Cam Newton, QB
Russell Okung, OT
Darius Stills, DT
Malcolm Smith, LB
Johnny Stanton, FB
Kenny Stills, WR
LaAdrian Waddle, OT

There are also a number of NFL owners and head coaches who have publicly expressed support for gay athletes and the LGBT community.


Mike Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals
Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons
Mark Davis, Las Vegas Raiders
Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns
Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts
Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Robert Kraft, New England Patriots
Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles Rams
John Mara, New York Giants
Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins
Steve Tisch, New York Giants
Zygi Wilf, Minnesota Vikings
Jed York, San Francisco 49ers

Head Coaches

Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brian Daboll, New York Giants
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans

Note that other players, coaches and owners shared generic messages about including anyone who can help their team, but their message didn’t quite ring to us as “support” for the LGBT community or gay teammates.

We are sure there are others out there. If there’s someone we missed, please add them in the comments below and we’ll update this rundown.

You can find RK Russell on Instagram and Twitter. His memoir — The Yards Between Us — comes out next year.