Seahawks punter Jon Ryan says he has no idea if or when he will revive his Twitter and Instagram accounts, and doesn't regret the testy exchange about Orlando that led to his decision to take himself off social media.
RENTON — Someday, punter Jon Ryan might bring back his Twitter account, which ESPN recently called the best to follow of any Seahawks player.
“I don’t know,’’ he said Wednesday after the Seahawks’ minicamp practice at the team facility. “Right now it’s like it feels like I just got out of a bad relationship and now I’m free. … It’s nice to be off of there right now.’’
In what could maybe be called 21st century irony, Ryan’s social-media interaction regarding the Orlando tragedy and decision to delete his accounts have gone viral.
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The situation began Sunday when Ryan made a post on Instagram referring to the tragedy in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub.
The post was a rainbow photo with the words: “more love #orlando”
Among the responses was one asking: “Where in the bible does it say it’s ok to be homo sexual? (sic).”
Ryan responded in turn: “Please unfollow me. You’re a terrible human being … please stop cheering for the Seahawks. We don’t want piece of (expletive) fans like you. Thanks.”
Shortly after, Ryan deleted his accounts.
The decision, he said, was his own.
“I think if the team had told me to take it down then I would have kept it up, to be honest,’’ he said. “That’s how I react to stuff like that. The team definitely had nothing to do with it. I wasn’t trying to hide what I said by any means. I will come forward and say that again, and I will stand up to anyone who is trying to oppose equality for sure. So I wasn’t trying to hide what I said by any means.’’
Instead, he said, “I was just angry. I just didn’t want to be a part of that anymore. I felt like if my page was helping breed hate among people, I didn’t want to be a part of that. And it was one of those things, make a bit of a stance. I don’t know if it really does or not, but I think we are in a position (as athletes) where we can kind of have our voices heard. And sometimes saying nothing is saying the most, and I felt that was kind of what it was by taking the page down.’’
Does Ryan regret the tone of his response?
“I think my only regret is that I didn’t respond more harshly,’’ said Ryan, who has been with the Seahawks since 2008, making him the longest-tenured member of the team. “I don’t want bigots to be fans of this team. I think in the Pacific Northwest we are pretty progressive in a lot of equality issues, and anything that holds that back, people like that can move on in my opinion.
“And the thing that saddened me even more is that this one particular guy that was very angry and people came to his defense, which disgusted me even more. And teenage kids were coming to his defense, which scared me, scared me about the future. So I definitely don’t regret it whatsoever.’’
Ryan is engaged to comedian Sarah Colonna, who also is active on social media and confirmed via Twitter that Ryan had taken down his accounts “because people are defending a terrorist, a murderer.’’
Ryan said most of the reaction he has gotten has been through Colonna.
“I think everything I have gotten has been very positive,’’ said Ryan, a 34-year-old native of Regina, Saskatchewan. “People have reached out to Sarah and sent me notes through her, people thanking me. It’s been pretty good. Hasn’t been many haters out there.’’
Ryan said he knows he has a platform to make a statement on issues such as bigotry, intolerance and hoping for civil discourse on social media, but they are the same ones he would have made if he were not a Seahawk.
“I’m not really doing things like that because I’m an athlete but because I’m a human being,’’ he said. “I’m not opposed to the Second Amendment and all this stuff that people get worked up about, and I don’t believe they should oppose the Second Amendment. But something needs to be done. Even one life is too many.
“ … So I’m not trying to stand up as a football player or someone who is in that position. I’m just trying to voice my opinion as a human being.’’