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Former US national team soccer player Robbie Rogers coming out

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by AroundTheWorld, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2000
    Likes Received:

    U.S. Soccer Player Opens Up About Being Gay


    It was around 11 a.m. Friday when David Testo’s cellphone began to vibrate constantly. There were missed calls. Voice mail messages. E-mails.

    Testo, a former professional soccer player, announced he was gay in 2011 shortly after his playing career ended. And as he paged through his messages from friends and family members, he quickly learned the news that stunned much of the global soccer community: Robbie Rogers, a former midfielder for the United States national team who most recently played in England, had revealed in a blog post that he was gay, too.

    Testo’s first thought, he said, was pride. But then he wondered if Rogers, who is 25, would do what Testo, and many others, chose not to: become one of the rare openly gay male athletes to actively participate in a high-profile professional team sport.

    “Deep down, that’s what I was hoping for,” Testo said. “It’s what we’re all waiting for.”

    Megan Rapinoe, the United States women’s team star, came out before last summer’s Olympics, but at this point it does not appear Rogers will follow her example on the male side. In his letter, which he published on his personal Web site, Rogers wrote he was leaving the sport to “discover myself away from football.”

    Rogers had most recently been playing for Stevenage, a third-division English team, after being loaned away by second-division Leeds United. He did not specify when — or if — he might return, instead focusing on his personal issues.

    Throughout his life, he wrote, he has “been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear.”

    “Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations,” he wrote. “Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.”

    Asked to elaborate, Rogers did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview. One of Rogers’s sisters, Alicia Nunn, wrote in an electronic message that “at this moment we not ready to make a comment.” His younger brother, Timothy, said in a brief telephone interview that “I know we are all very proud of Robbie and everything he has done.”

    Rogers was similarly embraced throughout the soccer community. Numerous players took to social media to support him, including Eddie Pope, a former United States defender, who wrote on Twitter, “Brave men like you will make it so that one day there is no need for an announcement.”

    Benny Feilhaber, who played with Rogers on the 2008 United States Olympic team, wrote to Rogers on Twitter that he was “proud to call you my friend.”

    Testo, who finished his career with the Montreal Impact, then a second-division team, came out in a television interview two years ago and said he vividly recalled the emotions that came with finally revealing a secret that could, at times, feel all-consuming.

    “I went out with friends and got drunk that night because it was such a relief,” he said, laughing. “I’m sure Robbie will have a good time in London. It’s just such a good feeling.”

    The 31-year-old Testo remains active as an advocate for the L.G.B.T. community, and said he planned to reach out to Rogers and hopes to work with him in the future. “I hope he’ll consider playing again — he’s young enough and good enough. But he has impacted plenty of people even if he doesn’t.”

    The emotional toll of living the “double life,” as Testo called it, may have drained Rogers’s desire to play. Rogers wrote that “secrets can cause so much internal damage,” adding: “People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.”

    To be sure, some gay male athletes — like the soccer player Justin Fashanu, the cricket player Steven Davies and the rugby star Gareth Thomas — have acknowledged they were gay during their playing careers. But they remain far more the exception than the rule.

    Rogers played in Major League Soccer for five seasons and made 18 appearances for the United States, scoring the first goal of Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure in 2011. If Rogers is indeed finished playing soccer — at present he is still in London and, according to his Twitter feed, has done some recent work with the British version of the magazine Men’s Health — then it will be disappointing because of the circumstances, said Jim Buzinksi, a founder of OutSports.com.

    If Rogers returns to the game, he almost surely would have “a target on his back,” Testo said, noting that soccer — like society at large, he added — has made progress, but is far from universal acceptance of homosexuality. Buzinksi agreed and said it was “absolutely depressing” that someone might feel pushed away from a sport he loves.

    “It just shows that sports is the final closet in society,” Buzinksi said. “We’ve made huge strides in terms of support of gay athletes, and homophobia is no longer cool in sports. But the closet is very much in existence.”


    I don't think he should have ended his career, if it was because of his coming out - don't think he had to?
  2. SwoLy-D

    SwoLy-D Contributing Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    [thread=233867]Already posted.[/thread] :cool:

    LOL @ tags

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