Athlete Ally Statement on MLS Star Robbie Rogers Coming Out as Gay
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - After a seven-year professional career, MLS and United States National Team midfielder Robbie Rogers has openly declared that he is gay, becoming one of few professional soccer players to ever do so. Rogers came out in a statement on his website and also announced an intention to potentially retire from the game.
Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director, Hudson Taylor, commented on Rogers' statement:
"I applaud Rogers' courage and honesty in what continues to be a struggle for gay and lesbian athletes around the world. With yet another athlete coming out and feeling the need to retire, it is time that we, as an athletic community, realize the responsibility we have in making athletes feel comfortable and confident being themselves. Sports participants and fans are central to the greatest civil rights cause of our time, and I urge all members of the sports community to recognize the important role we play."
Brian Ellner, who led the Campaign for New York Marriage and who serves on the Athlete Ally Board of Directors, added: "Robbie Rogers demonstrated enormous courage coming out and it is great to see the overwhelming positive response from other players in the sport. It is clear that the culture of sports is transforming rapidly. We are at a tipping point."
Rogers' statement in part reads:
"Things are never what they seem… My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family. In today’s society being different makes you brave. To overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith in your purpose.
For the past 25 year[s] I have 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. 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."