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Ex-Leeds player Robbie Rogers: There’s no way I could have stayed in football after coming out as gay

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  1. “Hearing homophobic remarks and anti-gay jokes from his teammates often made Rogers feel uncomfortable. “That was when I would get this awful feeling in my stomach. I would turn my head and try to chat about other things. They often don’t mean what they say. It’s that pack mentality – they’re trying to get a laugh, they’re trying to be the top guy. But it’s brutal. It’s like high school again – on steroids.”

    Puts in context all those messages of support from ex-team-mates after he came out. They need to cut the homophobia before, not make the right noises after.

  2. What a brilliantly honest, upfront interview Robbie gives in today’s Guardian.

    Reading it you understand clearly why there are no out, professionally active footballers in 2013.

    He also makes the perceptive comment that most fans probably are not homophobic.

    The main problem being pack mentality and wanting to be seen to be “one of the lads” when shouting from the terraces:- it only takes one to start the banter and beat the drums of homophobia and before long hundreds are reflexively joining in before engaging their senses.

    That is the culture of being a football can, which is why calls to tackle homophobia is akin to taking a sledgehammer to a walnut.

    Perhaps one day the world of football will be an enlightened one.

    We can at least certainly be grateful that rugby is far further down the path towards establishing an all inclusive game crowd atmosphere as the precedent.

    Thanks for your honesty and bravery, Robbie, and best wishes with all your future pursuits!

  3. Robbie should resume his football career !

    There’s really nothing to lose: if it doesn’t work out, then he’d be no worse off than he is now.

    But he might well find it all goes well.

    Even in the the US, there’s a new beginning. The President mentioned gay rights in his inaugural address, voters are approving Equal Marriage (as does the NAACP), the Supreme Court may soon strike down both DoMA and Prop 8. The Republicans have seen that the old dog whistle no longer works, and reality is starting to sink it. The times really are a’changin’.

    Having come this far, Robbie needs to follow on. There’s no need to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Don’t let us down – GO FOR IT, Robbie ! :-)

    1. 70yo ex-ref and no I didn't come out! 29 Mar 2013, 10:19pm

      Yes, this would be a great step. People are always so fearful from the closet, but we’ve seen that coming out is such an eye-opener for them and others.

      However, he’s helping ‘the cause’ somewhat by coming out as he did.

      Robbie, if you still love football, keep playing!!! :-)

    2. Yes, great idea! You’ve nothing to lose. If you still love football, Robbie, keep playing!

  4. A very sad state of affairs. The homophobia must run very deep for him to leave the profession. Well done him for coming out when he felt ready.
    The Beautiful Game? My arse. Pretty vile, aggressive environment – changing rooms and terraces. A game for thugs. It’s another nasty religion.

  5. Anton Hysen is “no one”?

    1. I’m glad you let us know that. I feel my life is now richer.

  6. ColinJones 29 Mar 2013, 1:29pm

    Football is homophobic, racist, tribal, nationalistic, xenophobic and in Scotland it’s sectarian too,its’ supporters are morons and its’ top players are obscenely overpaid and thick as sh*t, possibly the worst sport ever invented.

    1. Thank you. Just like women who think equality is getting as pissed as men why do gay men seem to want to copy the worst behaviour of heterosexual men. Football now is about money and has zero class.

      1. Then are you saying there’s something intrinsically heterosexual about ball games (and male about drunkenness)? I think being gay, for men, means having a liking for cock, nothing more nothing less – something that games and professions can’t have.

    2. Football and just about every other ball game or activity that generates huge revenues – or rather the people involved in these.

  7. I realised I was gay when I was 14 or 15. I was like, ‘I want to play football. But there are no gay footballers. What am I going to do?’”

    Interesting, as I’d have thought most kids would have more immediate concerns than their future careers.

    1. I understood playing football was an immediate concern for thim as a kid; just saying….

      When I was his age I dreamt of becoming a journalist.

  8. Reading it you understand clearly why there are no out, professionally active Anglo-Saxon footballers in 2013 perhaps?

    1. (Reply to Samuel B above.)

    2. Ooh pray tell, Rehan?!

      1. Anton Hysén. Or doesn’t he count?

  9. I still don’t understand all the admiration people are spouting off about this guy.

    He came out. So what?
    Lots of people come out of the closet and no one makes a big deal out of it.

    It’s not like he’s a professional athlete. Remember? He QUIT!

    There’s no courage in coming out without facing the challenges

    And yeah, there already IS an out football player. Just saying.

  10. I think Rogers made the right choice. Everyone who puts their mental health first should be applauded not condemned. for many people this means not coming out.

    But when women who wanted to be police or fire fighters more than anything else first started they faced vicious push back and eventually the culture changed so that the hostility was reduced.

  11. Mr Mandela 29 Mar 2013, 4:12pm

    if you are 5h1t at footie, just come out as gay – that will save you.

  12. Go for it
    Make us proud of you!

  13. I think what he did was brave. It would have been amazing if he had found the strength to play a season or two after coming out but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect every gay person to be a natural born civil rights hero. After all, physical skills and talent, amazing though they may be, don’t translate directly into a burning passion for moral leadership or the willingness to face the brutality of the “circus”, as he describes it.

    I think that the “win” here is that he came out, not decades after quitting, but while the players who know him are still on the field. They will remember his quality and, just maybe, they will think that it might be a good idea to change something to stop them from losing more talent.

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