well damn is right.
the foxhole blew up my emails about this story.
everyone meet ^ dorien bryant.
he is an ex “would been” baller wolf who came out the closet a while ago.
well even though he did,
he has a story that led up to this point.
i’ll give you the condescend foxhole version of the phillymag article…
It’s two months before Gaybowl XIII, when the seven-on-seven National Gay Flag Football League champion will be crowned in Phoenix, and the Philadelphia Revolution is bereft of its star. In the middle of an overgrown Little League field in East Passyunk, where a mucky dune marks the 50-yard line, a bespectacled, double-knee-brace-wearing team captain drills the squad on route-running. Then, 30 minutes into the two-hour practice, he arrives: arms muscled, pecs protruding from a pink-sleeved t-shirt. He moseys toward the bleachers wearing a camo-green hat and Versace Eros cologne. He has just left Voyeur three hours ago. “I know nothing right now,” he mumbles, pulling on his cleats, grabbing his receiver’s gloves, and jumping in line for some 10-yard hitch routes.
Not so long ago, Dorien Bryant was snatching spirals from Drew Brees in the off-season; now he moonlights for the Revolution after later-night bartending gigs at Woody’s and Voyeur. He quit football four years ago. Though he racked up All-American accolades at Purdue and gained more regular-season all-purpose yards in Big Ten history than any player not to win the Heisman Trophy, he went undrafted out of college. After failing a physical with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had surgery for a hernia and a torn adductor; they cut him anyway, before he played a single down. When the Tennessee Titans offered a contract in 2009, he declined. Then the Cowboys called. Dorien let it go to voicemail. “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.”
At 24, he was burned out and ready to come out. On the road to the NFL, his homosexuality was his secret; now, in the Gayborhood, it’s his litany of Purdue and Big Ten records (23, to be exact) that goes unsaid. At the bar at Woody’s, I explain to a Steelers fan sitting next to me that I’m writing a profile of a former gay member of his favorite team. The guy looks Dorien up and down, notes his sculpted physique—at 5’10” he can still bench-press twice his weight—but is quickly dismissive. “He’s too short for the NFL,” the guy says. And, he adds, Dorien seems too “into himself.”
This type of judgment comes as no surprise to Dorien. “I have a reputation that I’m full of myself … but I just keep to myself,” he says. This lends an air of mystery to him, a kind of super-hero riddle. Warm and affable behind the bar, in private he can appear walled off, unknowable. It may also explain why Dorien Bryant punted his NFL dreams. “I loved football,” he tells me. “I just loved myself a little more.”
The question, of course, was rather ironic. As NFL scouts scrutinized every on-field misstep his junior year, Dorien struggled to hide his off-field secret: a relationship with a male Purdue cheerleader. Since high school he’d known he was at least bisexual, if not gay, but football always got in the way. “Everything was laid out for me,” he says, from the regimented lifestyle—6 a.m. lifts to 10 p.m. film sessions—to a machismo image he had to maintain. “I had girls hanging all over me.”
Billboards between Indianapolis and West Lafayette bore his black-and-gold number 9; football encompassed his life like religion. Except when he hooked up with the cheerleader. “It was fun to feel like there was no judgment,” he says. “I don’t think there were any true feelings. But there was trust.”
But during preseason his junior year, things quickly spiraled downward. His injuries escalated. The fling fizzled. The scorned cheerleader outed the football star to his friends, who then approached Dorien. “I had to play dumb,” Dorien says. “That could have ruined my life.”
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.
Injuries worsened his senior year and he disappointed scouts at the combine. Labeled an injury risk, he went undrafted, but after signing with the Steelers, X-rays revealed the hernia and strained adductor, both requiring surgery. Perhaps it was for the best. “Everything I set out to do, I had achieved,” he says. “I had a great time doing it while it lasted, but I didn’t think I could commingle the NFL life and the life I wanted to live.”
For his part, Dorien doesn’t see the first openly gay, active player being signed for another half-dozen years: “It would have to be a top-five pick, someone exceptional. Someone you just can’t deny.” At training camp, NFL teams invite two or three times the number of players they need to fill their rosters—and look for any reason to cut you. “These franchises have so much more to think about,” Dorien says. “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 dismisses NBA veteran Jason Collins—the first “out” athlete in the four major sports—as a mediocre player out to profit from his pearly-whites cover of Sports Illustrated. “I don’t think what he did was courageous—at all,” he says over mahi-mahi tacos at El Vez. Like other critics, Dorien depicts Collins as an opportunist out for a contract. “I’m sure he’ll do the LGBT circuit. … But you don’t play basketball anymore and you never really were anybody.” (Collins has yet to be signed.)
Dorien can recall several teammates he’s certain were not exactly straight. “I think there had to be a solid six or seven guys, who—I’m pretty sure—I mean, they may not have been gay, but they would definitely get into bed with a guy.” And while he says neither of them currently play in the NFL, he knows at least two Heisman winners he strongly suspects are gay.
Terry still believes football is her son’s God-given talent. “Just a few weeks ago, she was riding me: ‘You can still do it,’” he says. “I always tell her the same thing: ‘I’m happy and that’s all that matters to me.’ But she says, ‘I know, but you could be happy and still be doing football.’”
Maybe he will, just not in the NFL. Dorien envisions a career as a coach at the prep or small-college level, and one day opening a gay sports bar named Shirley’s, after his grandmother. But if he does, he’d like to have a true partner. For now, he’s quite single. “I’m not a two-week or one-month guy,” he says. “It has to be something that lasts.” And someone who can handle the charming, maddening, enigmatic Dorien Bryant, a self-confessed “sugar freak” whose bedroom is littered with Marvel Comics memorabilia, who watches ESPN and cartoons and little else, and who will require someone very special to break down those walls he’s put up around him.
i wonder what he did to the cheerleader?
seems like he was so full of himself and was kind of an asshole.
( x read about that here )
this is definitely the “bad boy” story.
you want me to believe if he was still playing,
making major money,
and wasn’t outed by that cheerleader that he wouldn’t still be d/l?
if you do,
i got a bridge down in brooklyn to sell ya.
he’s still fine tho.
could you cuff?
he is a fine ex baller wolf who is a bartender in a gay bar.
im sure he has served a woody or two.
good article nonetheless.
seems like a “coulda, woulda, shoulda” story that could be a lesson to others.
as ratchet as you can get,
a good attitude will take you a long way.
i will say i do agree with what he had to say about jason collins.
that ship sailed away quietly.
read full article: phillymag
photograph taken: chris crisman