Today, United States Men’s National Team player, former Leeds United midfielder, and MLS star Robbie Rogers penned a powerful blog post to announce that he would be “stepping away” from soccer at the age of 25. He also revealed that he is gay.
We got to know Robbie through a mutual friend and can tell you he is courageous, well-spoken and resilient; all characteristics that will help him become a leader in the inevitable movement for the acceptance of openly gay athletes in professional sports.
As the LA Times reported in December, no active player in the MLS, NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL has ever come out as gay and it is still a very touchy subject in professional sports:
Even though public opposition to same-sex marriage and gay rights is rapidly eroding, the locker rooms and clubhouses of the country’s four major sports leagues remain among the last bastions of homophobia in the U.S.
Consider the numbers. About 4,000 players spent time on active rosters in the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball in 2012. With the best estimates of the gay/bisexual population in U.S. ranging from 2% to 10%, it’s likely many of those 4,000 athletes are gay or bisexual.
Yet not one has come out of the closet. Not this year, not last year, not ever.
There are openly gay congressmen and two senators-elect. There has been a gay governor and a cable TV network anchor. Just never an openly gay shortstop, quarterback or power forward.
Maybe that person is Robbie Rogers, or maybe he will inspire athletes out there who also have a hidden secret. Whether Robbie decides to take a short break from the game to focus on his personal life (and his clothing line Halsey) or his retirement is permanent one thing is for sure, we are very happy for him and he has a massive support system on Twitter.