Former Leeds player Robbie Rogers: ‘Everything is possible’ I might return to English football
Ex-Leeds FC midfielder Robbie Rogers has not ruled out the possibility of a return to English football, after being taken by surprise at the positive response from supporters at his former club following his decision to come out as gay this year.
In an interview to the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Rogers said: “This time last year I thought I’d never play again, that it just wasn’t possible, and then I went back. So I guess I’d never say never, everything is possible at this point.”
He later reversed his decision to quit the game and signed for LA Galaxy.
“At the moment when I came out I didn’t think it was possible (to continue playing football),” Rogers said.
“I’ve had so much support from the Leeds supporters, from the moment I got there until I came out and left.
“Even now when I do interviews they’ve supported me so I’m not expecting anything different.”
Before Rogers’ revelation, only two footballers had publicly said they were gay.
Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in Britain to come out, in 1990, before he took his own life eight years later, aged 37.
Rogers said he has not been contacted by any fellow gay professional footballers since revealing his sexuality in February.
“I’ve received phone calls and I’ve spoken with all my friends here in the UK and around the world that have supported me, but I haven’t had one message from a [gay] footballer,” Rogers told Newsnight.
“It reminds me of the fear that I had – you remember that atmosphere and how it made you feel. It just shows there’s a huge problem.
“What do you do to change that, do you try to support them to create an environment that would support them to come out and they would feel comfortable in? It’s really tough.”
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Rogers said that he does not envy the current attention on Olympian Tom Daley, who said he was in a relationship with a man earlier this month via YouTube, but he said he would not have done it in the same way.
“I don’t know Tom, I’ve heard great things about him. I don’t envy him, the spotlight that’s on him, being such a great Olympian, has got to be really tough,” said Rogers.
“I did it in a different way, I wrote and thought about it. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it on YouTube but everyone has their way. I’m happy for him that he can now have a relationship he doesn’t have to hide, that will make him a better athlete and person.”