London, England --- Robbie H. Rogers, a talented professional footballer/soccer player who was signed by Leeds United Association Football Club in 2012, after playing for the US National Team and the MLS Columbus Crew, publicly acknowledged that he is gay.
Robbie posted a lengthy message on his personal website, and he conceded that he has always felt different. Like most people who struggle with coming to terms with their sexuality, he wrote about being overwhelmed by fear, and the physical pain and heartache he experienced as a result of suppressing his feelings and living a lie.
I think anyone that’s wrestled with discovering their sexuality, could relate to Robbie’s inner conflict. He wrote:
For the past 25 year 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.
Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud. What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?
Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.
Secrets can cause so much internal damage. 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.
Robbie has played at the highest levels of his sport. He is an Olympian, and started all three games for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He played for the Columbus Crew when they won the MLS Cup Championship, and he scored the tying goal against Mexico in the first match under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
His USA Soccer profile describes his many accomplishments.
Adept with both feet and fearless in taking on defenders, Rogers presents a threat when cutting inside or whipping in crosses. Having extensive experience with the Youth National Teams, he enjoyed a memorable debut year in 2009 with the Men’s National Team, from making his first appearance (Jan. 24), to his first goal (July 4), and finally his first appearance in World Cup qualifying (Oct. 14). The speedy winger tallied three assists as well, most memorably when he supplied the corner for Jonathan Bornstein’s stoppage time header against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium. A five-year veteran with the Columbus Crew, he has an MLS Cup title to his credit and was named to the 2008 MLS Best XI.In The Guardian newspaper’s sports blog, they write about the impact that Robbie Rogers announcement is having on the sports world.
The announcement, only a year and a half after Rogers scored the equaliser against Mexico in Jürgen Klinsmann's coaching debut, has sent – and is still sending – shockwaves through the world of sport.
A mere discussion of homosexuality's existence in the sport is often labelled as taboo by those within the game. It is a silence that often obstructs any kind of legitimate discourse on the topic, much less any meaningful action in an attempt to ease the burden on "potentially" gay players (hint: they exist). Rules and disciplinary action for those that prejudice gay players may be prevalent, but efforts to truly integrate and push acceptance, nay, standardisation for those of an "alternate" persuasion are invisible.
Rogers eloquently and panoptically addresses the issue from the perspective of his own story– and it's an honesty that will no doubt help others in similar situations struggling with the same search for peace and true self-discovery in the future. And further, one can't help but wonder what struggles Rogers may have had to deal with growing up in a religious family.Robbie also announced that he is retiring from professional football/soccer.
Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest. Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.It’s too bad that Robbie has to walk away from his career as a professional athlete in order to fully realize who he is. But that’s probably the only way that he could be unencumbered by the fear he’s carried around for 25 years.
Let’s hope that he soon realizes that he doesn’t have to give up any of his dreams, because contrary to what the haters might say, LGBT people’s dreams really do come true too.
I really admire Robbie for doing this so publicly. I know that it takes courage and bravery and humility and an overwhelming desire to be one’s authentic self, to announce to the world on a public stage that you’re out and proud.
I can’t help but be reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s pronouncement, that as Americans, we are all created equal --- and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Robbie Rogers is exercising his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And with a bit of luck and perseverance, he’s apt to find some love out there too.
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