Robbie Rogers has expressed surprise and disappointment that other gay athletes didn’t come out after he came out publicly as gay. In an interview with the Associated Press he revealed that after he came out “I thought there’d be a chain reaction. It’s been a lot slower. I guess that just reminds me how big a problem it is in sports culture with homophobia.”
His comments sound like Michael Sam’s who recently expressed his disappointment that his coming out didn’t open the flood gates for more athletes to feel free to do the same. That leaves Sam and Rogers as the only two young athletes, one with a professional sports career and the other still trying to establish one, who are openly gay.
It seems especially hard for Rogers to understand because he got such positive support from his teammates after he retired from the Leeds team and announced he was gay. He retired because he didn’t think he could continue playing as a closeted man.
In a separate interview with GT (Gay Times) Rogers said “I was ready to walk away. I had so many mental scars from the things I’d heard in the locker room. I expected to retire and never come back.” But Jason Collins was his inspiration to come out.
After coming out, Rogers said that “… the same guys I’d heard the most ridiculous homophobic comments from were the same guys who texted me right away, or called me and supported me, and I realized the impact I’d make just from being in the locker room and playing football again.”
Of course we know now that he came out of retirement almost immediately to play for the LA Galaxy and recently signed a multi-year contract with the team. Rogers expressed hope that more gay athletes will come out in the future, saying “In the end, it’s really about guys coming out and changing the atmosphere by being in it. You definitely need to create the environment first where guys feel comfortable.”