Robbie Rogers: Ex-Leeds United and USA winger reveals he is gay
United States and ex-Leeds United winger Robbie Rogers says he is “stepping away” from football after announcing he is gay.
Rogers, 25, who was released by Leeds in January after a loan spell at Stevenage, is only the third footballer to publicly declare his homosexuality.
“I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity,” said Rogers.
“Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.”
The Football Association said it would fully back Rogers, regardless of whether he continues his career.
I am not a sports fan (although I have to admit I’m getting more interested in soccer/football and Rugby football these days – those guys are great eye candy!) but I really have to admire the courage shown by Robbie Rogers in coming out publicly. It’s hard enough to come out publicly when you are an ordinary schmoe like me, so it has got to be much, much harder for a public figure like Rogers.
Here is the statement that he published on his website (I’ve put my favorite lines in bold):
The Next Chapter…
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 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.
I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
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.