Football

Robbie Rogers continues to eradicate homophobia

Rogers is currently playing for LA Galaxy  (©GettyImages)
Rogers is currently playing for LA Galaxy (©GettyImages).

Back in May, Robbie Rogers made history by becoming the first openly gay male to participate in a major professional sport in the USA. 

Though Jason Collins, a professional basketball player, came out a few weeks before Rogers, Collins has yet to play a professional game, making Rogers part of the history books.

Rogers came out quietly, yet confidently, in his blog. Neither he nor his blog were especially popular at the time, but once he clicked 'submit' and posted it for the entire world to read, there was little in the way to stop him from becoming America's sweetheart. 

But why? What was so important about Rogers being open about his sexuality and playing professionally? Simply, Rogers put a face to a problem.

Homophobia has been slowly disappearing, not just in the USA, but worldwide. Television shows regularly feature gay characters, countless celebrities have come out and same sex marriage are now legal in 15 countries. 

But it's not gone yet. It is still alive and, unfortunately, very dangerous. The more rights that are given to homosexuals, the more fervid the other side becomes. 

In the USA, professional sports was the last obstacle - the last overly masculine, too-straight-to-penetrate barrier that threw a blanket over the gay rights movement.

Everyone knew that, someone, somewhere in professional sports was gay. Statistically, it would have been impossible for every male professional athlete in America to be straight, but nobody had come out yet. 

So, it was easy to ignore. We all carried on and ignored the homophobia that is all too blatant in some major sports. 

That is exactly what Rogers changed. Suddenly, a whole new group of people were being exposed to something they weren't used to. 

It wasn't a fictional television show. It wasn't something in the paper that people could read once and then discard. It was real, and it was permanent.

People could no longer hold their dislike of homosexuals without also disliking Rogers, the LA Galaxy, Major League Soccer, or major professional sports in general. If you love one, you have to love all it accepts.

What Rogers did was quell fears. He quelled the fear that an out homosexual would change locker room mentality or that he would change the team dynamic.

When Rogers stepped foot on that playing field with the rest of the LA Galaxy, it became very clear that professional sports would carry on as they were. 

Rogers should not only be commended for his courage to come out of the closet, but also his courage to return to the playing field and prove to the world that maybe, just maybe, homosexuals could become regulars in the American sports circuit.

 

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Topics:
MLS
Football
LA Galaxy

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