The name Dorien Bryant probably isn’t familiar to you, but it could’ve been. You see, Bryant could’ve been the NFL’s first openly gay player, if only he had answered that Dallas Cowboys phone call in 2009. Or accepted that contract with the Tennessee Titans.
G Philly Magazine has a fascinating profile on Bryant, an amazingly hot, amazingly talented college football player whose potentially great career was sidelined by injuries, hubris, and an ill-fated affair with a male cheerleader. When outed by said cheerleader, Bryant denied the relationship, but that didn’t stop people from talking:
Weeks later, during a game against Indiana State, Dorien looked up to see cardboard cutouts of his picture next to rainbow flags hoisted in the Sycamores’ student section. Gay jokes and chants rained down during warm-ups. “That game was an eye-opening experience,” he says. “I remember thinking, I’m not going to be able to do this for another six or seven years.” He posted one of the best games of his career, including two touchdowns. Take that, ISU.
Bryant couldn’t imagine living the life of a pro football player while being the openly gay man he wanted to be — scratch that — while being the young openly gay man he wanted to be. “I was just afraid I’d be 30 and still not know who I am,” he says. “I know that 30 isn’t the be-all-end-all … but it is in gay years.”
Things get dishier and juicier when the conversation turns to the subject of gays in sports and the NFL. As for his Purdue teammates, he claims that more than a few were, if not exactly gay, then definitely heteroflexible. When pressed, he tells G Philly of six or seven guys who “may not have been gay, but they would definitely get into bed with a guy.” He also “strongly suspects” at least two Heisman winners are gay as well.
Bryant’s prickly personality also extends to his opinions on the gay rights movement. He seems uninterested in becoming a posterboy for gays in professional sports, and doesn’t see the NFL signing an openly gay player for at least six years. “How many fans of the Houston Texans do you think are going to be like, ‘OK, here comes some gay guy playing on our team?’”
He saves his harshest words, though, for out former NBA player Jason Collins. “I don’t think what he did was courageous at all,” Bryant says. “I’m sure he’ll do the LGBT circuit.…But you don’t play basketball anymore and you never really were anybody.” Ouch. He also calls gay rights activist and writer Dan Savage “a tool” when interviewed during a local gay bar’s “Dump Stoli” party. “Sixty to 70 percent of the people don’t even know what they’re fighting against,” he says.
There is much, much more where all this came from, and we urge you to head over to G Philly to check out the entire profile. Bryant is hot, witty, and can throw major shade with the best of them: touchdown.
Photo: Chris Crisman