Robbie Rogers: “Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.”

The story of Robbie Rogers, who has announced his retirement from football aged 25, is one that should deeply trouble the world of football. Despite 18 caps for his country, poor Robbie’s footnote in history will be that he is only the third professional football player to declare he is gay. Think about that for a moment. In the modern age, what primeval institutional pressures must be overwhelming young gay players such that they feel they still have to hide their sexuality?

Since poor old Justin Fashanu came out 23 years ago, only two players in the whole of football have declared they are gay. 

Robbie said in his valedictory statement:

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

It really is time football dealt with this. I hope these words will encourage the leaders of the game to give their players the freedom to be gay.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 CONglamourART on 02.16.13 at 1:06 pm

Obviously I agree to a certain extent.

But for Football, to create an environment in which players can be gay, footballers need to create an environment in which players can be gay. And they have started. Players like Joey Barton have spoken out about the importance of a more accepting culture.

In this situation, the onus falls on the gay footballer to realise his position in creating this environment.

I haven’t seen him say WHY he has retired anywhere, but it strikes me that he didn’t have to and in doing so he has exacerbated a status quo of football being for straight men.

Over the next couple of weeks we may see staged paparazzi shots of him in G-A-Y “having a gay old time” and “letting his hair down with the gurlz” and a little further down the road he may turn up at some theatre awards ceremony with his partner and get sat on a table with the cast of Made in Chelsea.

And no progress will have been made. And boys growing up still won’t have a decent gay role model.

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