Rogers interviewed for first time since announcing he is gay

RobbieRogersOut (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

On February 23, 2013, Robbie Rogers walked away from the game of soccer and came out as a gay soccer player in a post that he published on his blog.

One month later later, Rogers is ready to tell the world why.

The 25-year old granted interviews to The Guardian and The New York Times, revealing his reasons for quitting soccer. Rogers spoke at length about the difficulties of playing soccer in the testosterone-filled locker rooms that are pervasive throughout the world. In addition, the former U.S. international said that while he doesn’t believe most soccer players are homophobic, there is a “pack-like” mentality in locker rooms that leads people to say things they don’t really mean.

“I was just fearful. I was very fearful how my team-mates were going to react,” Rogers told The Guardian. “Was it going to change them? Even though I’d still be the same person would it change the way they acted towards me – when we were in the dressing room or the bus?”

Since retiring, Rogers has been able to focus full time on his other passions, which include his menswear company that he co-own’s in Los Angeles, Halsey, and getting into the London School of Fashion.

Here is Rogers’ video interview with The New York Times:


What do you think of the interviews? Hoping Rogers changes his mind about being retired? Think MLS is ready for an openly gay soccer player?

Share your thoughts below.

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66 Responses to Rogers interviewed for first time since announcing he is gay

  1. Jamie Z. says:

    I think it’s a terrible shame, and at first, I was skeptical of his assertion that continuing as an openly-gay player would have been “impossible,” but then I perused some of the comment sections and it became clear just how far we have to go before sexual orientation in sport becomes a non-issue. It’s not only other players he’d have to contend with, but the supporters he’d play in front of every week. I’d like to think there’s still a place for him in the game somewhere, especially in MLS, but I respect his right to his own decision.

  2. Dinho says:

    Totally understand his choice to walk away from the game. His decision to come out was exceedingly brave and I applaud him for that.

    • sony says:

      poor guy

      • Brent says:

        Good for Rodgers for standing up for what he believes in… It is a very tough situation.. Unless you’ve spent extensive time in locker rooms, you wldnt truly understand the whole situation, although you could imagine..

        It’s not just the players, you would wonder if organizations would shy away from Rodgers for fear of unrest within the club.. It is a business.

  3. Kevin says:

    Props to him. Bold move. Someone had to be first but I can’t imagine how hard that is to do.

    I hope he comes back to MLS.

    • ThaDeuce says:

      But he isn’t the first. More than one professional player has come out AFTER retiring from the game. He’ll be the first to do so and play IF he comes back.

      I don’t think that’s going to happen, I think he has switched careers. Lucky for him to be so good at so many things, he may not take a pay cut in the fashion world. And all this publicity won’t hurt that either.

  4. Gnarls says:

    Much respect to Robbie, but I do wonder if he’d have the same experience in MLS as he would in England, vis-a-vis that “pack mentality” toward homosexuality. America is a split nation on gay rights and attitudes towards gay people – and admittedly I live in California where we lean left on most everything – but I hear more voices accepting and embracing gay people than I do opposing gay rights, etc. That goes for the players in MLS especially. Remember how many guys came out in support of Robbie when he came out?

    We can’t expect Robbie Rogers to bear the burden of being the first openly gay player, but I think it’s only a matter of time before being “the first” becomes less and less daunting and scary.

    • solles says:

      The US isn’t as split as the media would have you think, unless youre an old nutter who sits on the couch and watches fox all day, you’re most likely to have no problem with the issue, as it should be. Looking forward to the day this isn’t such a big deal anymore.

      • Pepe says:

        I’d like to think that MLS would be one of the least homophobic leagues in the world (if not the most).

      • chris says:

        In my experience most people dont like homosexuality but believe they reserve the right to do what they want

      • Gnarls says:

        “Split nation” is based on the 53% of people who support gay marriage and 47% who don’t. Obviously more are in favor than against.

    • colin says:

      Britain is much more progressive on gay rights than the United States.

  5. vince says:

    What does he mean he was “fearful” and it would “change them”? Was he outed? Did he tell them or do something that let them know he was gay? If he was still in the closet while he was playing why would his teammates do anything differently?

    • Riggity says:

      Wow. Really? He was concerned that if he told his teammates he was gay, it would change the way his teammates interacted with him socially and professionally…doesn’t seem that hard to understand…

    • Kat says:

      He was concerned that these things would have happened IF he had come out while he was still playing.

      • Mario says:

        So I think you saying that “if he stayed in the closet and no one found out, that nothing would change.” Well, what if someone did find out and then there were rumors, innuendoes, etc…. He would always be fearful. That is no way to live, brother. Mad props for him being true to himself.

  6. David M says:

    I don’t care whether Rogers is gay or straight — it’s none of my business. He’s a soccer player to me, and my view of him didn’t change when he came out. And I wish him luck in whatever he does. And if he returns to the game, great. However, I don’t quite understand what makes him so brave and why we should all be so proud of him and support him. I am as proud of him as I am of any other American player who tried but didn’t succeed in Europe.

    • Dinho says:

      To come out as openly gay, especially as a professional athlete, takes a lot of courage. If you’ve ever been in the locker of a college/professional team, you’d know that the comments (albeit mostly malice-free) are not exactly pro-homosexual.

      I, too, do not care whether he is gay or straight, but to say that he is not brave is unfair, in my opinion.

      • Dinho says:

        locker room* (dang it)

      • David M says:

        Maybe there would be some validity to the claim that it took him a lot of courage to come out if he had remained in the game. However, he’d quit the game (at least for now), with no plans to return. He doesn’t need to be in any locker rooms — so, where is the bravery?

        I wonder what the reaction would be if, let’s say, Tim Ream, announced tomorrow that he was quitting the game for personal reasons. Would he be lauded for bravery? Would everyone be talking about how proud they are of him and offering their support?

        • ChiTown says:

          He didn’t quit for personal reasons.

          Others made him quit for being gay. To use generalized terms such as “personal reasons” as a shield for the importance of the subject completely undermines your entire argument.

          This isn’t just a personal reason. This is Jackie Robinson breaking into the MLB. This is a large group of your peers hating your very existence because of something you have no control over.

          • drew11 says:

            No, he “quit” because he doesn’t want to play in Chicago. Now he already wants to train with LA Galaxy. What does that tell you?

            He will be back next season. Guaranteed.

            • ChiTown says:

              “Since retiring, Rogers has been able to focus full time on his other passions, which include his menswear company that he co-own’s in Los Angeles, Halsey, and getting into the London School of Fashion.”

              He quit because of people like you.

          • David M says:

            Who made him quit?

          • David M says:

            And by the way Jackie Robinson didn’t quit. So don’t compare the two.

            • Kosh says:

              I don’t think he was making the comparison on the basis of “quitting” but more so to teh point that he was amoung the first in an an environment that did not like him and he may have heard a thing or two to make his life a living hell.

              Jackie Robinson did not quit nor was he gay but hate is hate and one cannot really understand how heavy a burden it is until you’ve suffered it in it’s raw form.

        • j says:

          Agreed. It’d have been brave to come out and stay in the game, not retire. Where’s the bravery again?

          • Amber says:

            Coming out is brave because although there is more acceptance of LGBT, there is still a lot of hostility and hatred. Just this week a guy in England was sentenced for setting a gay teenager on fire and killing him, it is illegal to be gay in over 70 countries (including World Cup host Qatar) and in 29 states it is legal to fire someone just for being gay. That’s why it’s brave for Rogers and other gay people to come out.

    • biff says:

      I think I see where you are coming from, David M. I personally believe that it took tremendous courage for Rogers to leave Columbus and put his soccer career on line in England’s second league. I felt so strongly about it at the time, that I posted my respect for Rogers’s courage several times on the SBI message boards. Most MLS players would never take the professional risk that Rogers did. So, yes, I think you might be right that it took more guts to move to a foreign country to play soccer and risk failure than to come out of the closet only after safely announcing retirement from soccer and touting new business ventures.

      • Kosh says:

        I don’t think that’s completely fair. RR is lucky to have a plan B – a testament to the advances we as a scoitey have made when it comes to our brothers and sisters. However, imagine if he didn;t have that to fall on – he’s looking at a life of making a living in fear and and stress. No one should have to live that way.

        He could have easily walked away from the game without saying why and he would not own anyone of us an explanation. We are not 100% of the way there yet (as some of the posts on here show) so to admit that you are gay (which I have no idea why in the 21st Century in an advanced country anyone would have to be subjected to that) still does not spare you from the challenges of society – whether he stays in the game of not. So, sad as it is, to free himself of the burdens society has placed on him and to get some breathing room to live his life he has done the thing that many will still villify him for – he is brave.

    • TomG says:

      I guess you don’t understand why Jackie Robinson was brave either. There’s a reason why no active roster US pro athlete has ever come out. The first few to break barriers is always subject to massive amounts of hatred, death threats, bigotry, flying cleats, etc. It’s not something I would want to go through or wish on anyone. Not only that, you have to take all that abuse and act like a perfect, irreproachable pillar of virtue and never, ever fight back. Jackie Robinson went through pure hell for years and he had to bite his tongue every day because he was not only representing himself but his entire race. If he did anything remotely questionable or controversial it would be reported as reflecting the moral corruption of the entire african american race. It’s an awful burden.

    • XPK says:

      It’s no one’s job to tell Robbie Rodgers that he is supposed to be the figurehead as the first openly gay professional footballer. It’s his life.

      Robbie could have quit and never said a single thing about why he really quit or just said he wanted to focus on his business.

      To be honest about why he quit is brave, given the current state of GLBTQ rights in the US and other parts of the world, because not everyone shares your live and let live mentality, David M.

  7. ChiTown says:

    Robbie,

    Come back to MLS, and I have two good reasons.

    1. Sean Johnson will punch anyone in the face who has a problem with you.

    2. You retiring means we straight up traded Dominic Oduro for Dilly Duka.

  8. Werner says:

    I still want him on the Galaxy! Would be more effective than Colin Clark!

    • TomG says:

      NYRB could certainly use a left wing.

    • Brian says:

      Agreed….but could be a salary cap issue.

    • bml says:

      I’m sure RR is looking forward to playing with Colin Clark after Colin’s homophobic slur towards a ball boy last year. If someone can treat a little boy like that in public, I can’t imagine what MLS locker rooms are like.

    • Elber Galarga says:

      This is what I don’t get from folks here. Okay, he’s gay. Good for him. Brave of him yo come out, and so forth. Now speaking in soccer terms, he is overrated. He was being pushed out in Columbus. I believe it was by Duka. Not sure how he got a call up from klinsman when he started. Rumors were that they played or had some affiliation to some rec league type club with Klisman. He wasnt in good form at the time. He struggled in England’s lower divisions. I do realize he was hurt. He is all speed! That’s it. I don’t want him on my team. It would be different if he was a more skilled player. Btw, I don’t care about his sexual orientation, race, or religion. If your a good player, I’ll take you on my team. If you overrated, I don’t need anymore of those type of players on my team. Already a lot of those around.

  9. OB Rick says:

    I think it is not as big of a deal in soccer because soccer fans in the USA seem to more educated/middle-upper class then the average American.

    • Joseph says:

      Totally agreed. MLS fans are not exactly like NASCAR fans or SEC fans. I think he’d be greatly appreciated in MLS. I’d love it if he were on my Timbers.

      • AzTeXan says:

        NASCAR and SEC fans? Are you too scared to say “The South” or something? It’s probably not too unfair of a statement when places like Mississippi are just getting around to ratifying the 13th Amendment THIS year.

        link to blog.seattlepi.com

        • Jimmy Bobo says:

          You are engaging in hateful stereotyping of people because of where they live. I guess you probably think that is OK since the people who you are disparaging are white and Southern.

      • Jose says:

        Hate much?

    • Jason B says:

      True, I don’t think he’d see push-back anywhere in the US from the fans. And if he had a supportive front office and coach here in MLS, I don’t think the locker room issues would be there either.

  10. Jamie Z. says:

    Can someone explain to me why my comment has been awaiting moderation for more than four hours? I don’t understand how this system works.

  11. FK Pirin says:

    Robbie Rogers needs to come back to soccer. Don’t worry about what other people will think. There will be plenty of time for a fashion career after his soccer career, which he could do for at least another 8 years. He is a good player and could potentially be part of the national team. I hope he comes back to soccer it would be a shame for him to waste his talent.

  12. jpc15 says:

    I don’t think Robbie Rogers is stupid, but California accents make people sound like such idiots. At least he didn’t say hella. I guess that’s a positive

  13. Nick says:

    “Since retiring, Rogers has been able to focus full time on his other passions, which include his menswear company that he co-own’s in Los Angeles, Halsey, and getting into the London School of Fashion.”

    Damn you cliche homosexual interests of Robbie Rogers!!

  14. AzTeXan says:

    Finally, someone with a legit excuse for a sabbatical.

    • AzTeXan says:

      What are the chances Landon Donovan took his sabbatical because he needed a break from living a lie. Making trips to Cambodia and other 3rd world countries to diddle little boys like he’s Michael Jackson. IT’S OKAY LD, COME OUT MAN, IT’S 2013, NOBODY CARES!!!!

      • Jamie Z. says:

        Are you kidding me? I wish there was a “view history” function on SBI so people could look back at how ridiculous some of our regulars’ posts are, and how some tend to hyperfocus on one specific point or another, regardless of the context. You’ve got to chill on the Landon Donovan bashing, man, especially on threads that have absolutely nothing to do with him.

  15. People are Salty on Here says:

    Of course you can be gay and active in football. Just look at Luis Suarez!

  16. bizzy says:

    Hahahaha….wow, what does liking men have to do with soccer skills on a soccer team. What is the big deal? Does it make you play any less?? If you are an effective midfielder, making the right passes, defending when need be and causing problems for defenses who cares what he like or does on his off time…..just like don’t ask don’t tell in the military, even if you suspect it…..its none of your business, and in a place where you sleep, shower, eat etc around members, when people get to know you…the real you….no one cares. Robbie has a lot of guts come out public but that wasn’t necessary and certainly not Heroic by any means (people in the real world have to overcome this on a daily bases) because IMO its no one’s business. everyone needs to worry about what he does on the field not in the bedroom. He’s proved that he can play at the highest level, the national team, so thats all that should matter……so he needs to dust himself off, man up and come back to MLS to try again…….

  17. NaranjaFanatic says:

    Sucks for us fans. I’d take him on my team (except we are loaded with wingers).

  18. NaranjaFanatic says:

    Let me add that he doesn’t “need” to do anything. He doesn’t need to come back to MLS, be a spokesman, take up a cause, or anything. He can do what we wants.