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‘I Am A Free Man’ – Former Leeds Midfielder Robbie Rogers Comes Out As Gay, Retires From Football

By Chris Wright

By way of a personal blog post, former Leeds midfielder and USA international Robbie Rogers, 25, has come out as gay while announcing that he is retiring from football with immediate effect to spend the next chapter of his life “discovering himself.”

Rogers was released by Leeds in January after returning from a loan spell at Stevenage and has made the decision to come out after keeping his sexuality a secret for so long and step away from the game so as to begin the process of redefinition.

Said Rogers:

“I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.

“For the past 25 years I have been afraid, afraid to show who I really was because of fear. 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.

“Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career.

“Now my secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.”

The full blog post is available to read here.

Having learned of his decision, PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle told Rogers that he’d have the organisation’s “full respect and support” whatever he chose to do next. Nice touch.

As we’ve said before many times on Pies: Openly gay, openly straight  - you shouldn’t feel the need to be openly anything as far as your professional life is concerned, but kudos to Robbie for taking his destructive demon by the horns and facing it head on.

Here’s to a happier life for him, and here’s hoping that one day he feels he’s able to return to play the game that he loves.

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By Chris on February 16th, 2013 in Newsnow. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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11 Responses to “‘I Am A Free Man’ – Former Leeds Midfielder Robbie Rogers Comes Out As Gay, Retires From Football”

  1. quebec in your face says:

    I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of coming out as gay, but does he really need to retire from football to “discover himself”? I don’t even know what that involves, but it’s a shame that a USA international in his supposed peak years won’t be playing the game anymore.

  2. C says:

    Good for him! Well done!

  3. Roshan says:

    I don’t see why he thinks coming out is such a significant thing. In an era where homosexuality is widely accepted, why must a footballer not only decide to disclose to the world that he is gay, as if it is some sort of a miracle, but even decide to quit his job for its sake?

    He’s hyped this so much, it’s ridiculous.

  4. tenblackalps says:

    One man likes another man. Who gives a toss. IT is a bit ridiculous he is retiring from football though. Living in the US, know just how hard it is to make it as a player here especially to a foreign league. He has taken the spot of probably more than a few worthy players here, who would have gone on to have decent careers and perhaps earn USA caps. A selfish move to retire at 25 after US football has invested in this guy

  5. dld_ftw says:

    Coming out it a complex process – it takes a lot of time and energy to redefine yourself. It seems from his note that he may be reconciling some religious issues for himself as well. That’s A LOT to deal with. It requires enormous energy and focus.

    As for leaving the sport – he did say “stepping away” not “retire” so there’s a chance he may return. He’s just been released from his contract and has been injured a lot the past two seasons and has barely played – my guess is that he feels that this is a really good time to take a break and heal, in many ways. I can understand why he would want to take time away – football has been his coping mechanism for his whole life – his shield – so by removing that, he’s got no excuses or buffer – he’s got to really deal with his issues. I admire him for taking away his safety net and experiencing everything. You have to deal with your demons head on.

    Roshan, if homosexuality is so widely accepted, where are all the out and proud athletes playing today? Sports is one of the last bastions of homophobia. Statistically, there must be many gays in sport, but most of them don’t come out until they have retired. Why do you think that is?

    I am heartened by all the support that has been directed Robbie’s way. I’d love to see him on the pitch again soon. Maybe this will encourage other players to break down some barriers. Sexual orientation should be a non-issue in sport. As the You Can Play Project (http://youcanplayproject.org/) says “If you can play, you can play.” And that should really be the end of the story shouldn’t it?

  6. Simon says:

    @ dld_ftw

    Well said.

  7. XYZZZ says:

    Beckham and Ronaldo, take notes

  8. Roshan says:

    Did-ftw, homosexuality is accepted in the sense that homosexual athletes don’t need to come out. Why do athletes feel the need to come out? Why would the world care if they fancy other men? I for one don’t care.

    There’s no need to be ‘proud’ of it either. It’s like saying I should be proud I’m heterosexual.

  9. Dono says:

    His soccer career was floundering to say the least and he’s putting in more time with his fashion line and working with men’s health magazine. Sounds like he just needed a change in his life. Also, I think the media hyped it more than he did. Robbie made a blog post and has declined interviews so far.

  10. C says:

    With this recent news, I guess I have to take action too.
    I feel it is time to let the entire world know that I am heterosexual. I hope that all of you feel an amazing sensation of pleasure from knowing if a person you’ll never meet prefers to fuck men or women. “God” bless y’all, dudes!

  11. __wowza says:

    a lot of us see coming out as a giant “meh, and?”.
    i believe that it’s a great testament to the kind of society we live in, but not everywhere/everyone thinks the same.

    look at the modern game, the number of players who’ve passed through every organization in the worlde.. now name every player that was openly homosexual during their career. there’s a stigma around it, a stigma that unfortunately will close a lot of doors for a person as an athlete. this is a sport where you can be heckled for a DUI, a robbery, a divorce, even your race; and although it doesn’t matter to a lot of us, there’s a lot of people around the world it might matter to (coaches, players, supporters, etc). stepping away is good, especially if he’s had a hard time dealing with all of this. hell, i know a lot of people didn’t have the benefit of taking time off when they came out (it did make for several great conversations with the faculty in a catholic school though).

    as much as i want rogers to continue playing, just to serve as an example that your athletic ability has no correlation to who you love, it’s his life. he doesn’t owe anyone anything, but hopefully, one day, he’ll return to the sport and take up that mantle.

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