Robbie Rogers on coming out in American sports culture
After 25 years of silence, former United States national team midfielder and Leeds United winger Robbie Rogers privately came out to his family and friends. One hurdle overcome, he still agonized for months over telling his fans and teammates that he was gay. But in February, Rogers posted a letter to his website, writing: "I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest... My secret is gone, I am a free man."
He then promptly retired from soccer at the age of 25.
But since his announcement, there has been growing speculation about whether Rogers will return to the sport, making him the first out male gay athlete on a major American team. It's a possibility Rogers is open to, but not quite yet, as he told The New York Times:
Rogers does not rule out the possibility. But, he added quickly, it is not a priority for him. He said he hoped that “people will understand that I need to be a little selfish about this.”
“I’m definitely not closing any doors,” he said. “Maybe I will go back. Right now, I’m just happy to be out and being honest with people. But just because I’m out doesn’t mean I’m 100 percent healthy. It’s been 25 years that I haven’t been myself. Twenty-five years of lying. That’s really, really hard.”