Robbie Rogers: Being gay forced him to leave soccer, but he could return
Former MLS and U.S. National team player Robbie Rogers made headlines last month when he announced he was gay and leaving the sport via his blog. Rogers explained to The Guardian Friday why he felt an exit was his only option and hinted that his soccer career might not be over.
"Would I have had the same opportunities when I was younger if I'd come out?" Rogers said in The Guardian. "I don't think so. There would have been that mentality: 'Oh, he's gay … how will that affect the team?'"
Since coming out, Rogers has considered becoming an agent for change in regard to football and sports, but doesn't want to be a spokesman.
"About a month ago I would've thought: 'I don't want to be a spokesman for gay footballers,'" he said in the Guardian interview. "I have so many different things I'm interested in. But after thousands of emails, I'm thinking, OK, how can I help others? How can I make some positive change?"
"I've heard it recently from coaches. Obviously they're not homophobic but they'll say: 'Don't pass the ball like a fag,'" he said in the interview. "What are you talking about? Does it make a difference, if you're gay or straight, as to how you pass the ball? Are you on drugs?' I guess they say it because they think it's funny. There's the stereotype of a gay man being soft and flamboyant."
According to The Guardian, Rogers' immediate future will include the fashion industry and possibly a return to soccer:
He flies to New York this weekend and will meet people at Ralph Lauren so they can decide whether he is suited to their new campaign. He has also won himself a place at the London School of Fashion and could begin a three-year course in September. But he might just have enough talent, contacts and nous to concentrate on Halsey – the menswear brand he co-owns in LA. And then, of course, there is football. "Most days I wake up and I go to my computer and look at my emails and then go onto the football sites. Football will always be part of me. I don't know if I'm done playing yet. I might ask [the coach] Bruce Arena if I can train with LA Galaxy – we'll see. I miss it and think about it a lot. But I'm so happy now I don't want to mess with that. Football was my life and maybe I'll need to go back … or maybe I'll just be a fan. But it's an industry where there are lots of problems – from sketchy agents to homophobic culture."