Sports star Ryan O’Callaghan had even purchased a cabin in the woods where he planned to kill himself
Former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan has come out as gay.
The star, who played for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs, has opened up about his sexuality in an interview with Outsports.
O’Callaghan revealed that he’s been struggling with his sexuality for years, and claimed that he planned to kill himself after retiring from the sport.
“In high school, football turned into a way to go to college,” he said. “In college football was a great cover for being gay. And then I saw the NFL mainly as a way to keep hiding my sexuality and stay alive.”
He realised he was gay when at school, and quickly turned his focus to football so he could keep his sexuality hidden from his friends and family.
“If you’re a gay kid and you hear someone you love say ‘fag,’ it makes you think that in their eyes you’re just a fag too. That got to me a lot.
“No one is going to assume the big football player is gay,” he said. “It’s why a football team is such a good place to hide.”
When his career came to an end in 2011 due to injury, O’Callaghan turned his attention to description drugs and began on a downward spiral.
He bought a cabin in Kansas where he intended to end his life, and distanced himself from his friends and family so his death would be less painful for them.
Thankfully, his former trainer recognised the signs and recommended he start counselling. He still planned to commit suicide however, before he bit the bullet and ended up coming out. The positive reaction came unexpectedly, and ended up saving his life.
“Was it great at the beginning? No. Did everyone totally understand what it meant to be gay? No. But they knew what my alternative was. I told people close to me that I planned on killing myself. So at that point, no one cared. They were just happy that I was alive.”
“It’s not always easy being honest, but I can tell you it’s much easier and more enjoyable being yourself and not living a lie,” he added.