Robbie Rogers broke a barrier by becoming the first openly gay active male player in America's major professional sports, a fact that has not eluded President Barack Obama.
In welcoming the MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy and Stanley Cup champion LA Kings to the White House Monday, Obama made sure to pay tribute to Rogers, whose announcement of his sexual orientation and eventual return to the playing field garnered worldwide attention.
Rogers emerged as a key piece of the Galaxy's fifth championship, reinventing himself as a left back in his first full season in Los Angeles after the Galaxy traded Mike Magee to the Chicago Fire for his MLS rights.
"I want to recognize what Robbie Rogers of the Galaxy has done for a lot of people by blazing a trail as one of professional sports' first openly gay players," Obama said during his remarks in the East Room. "My guess is that as an athlete Robbie wants to win first and foremost, that's what competition is all about, but Robbie, you've also inspired a whole lot of folks here and around the world, and we are very proud of you."
Rogers, who released his book Coming Out to Play this past November, had two assists in 19 regular-season games and added another in five postseason games in helping LA win its third championship in the last four seasons.
Monday marked the second time in three years that both the Galaxy and Kings were honored simultaneously, with both winning their respective league's titles in 2012 as well.
Landon Donovan, who retired after winning his record sixth MLS Cup, was not present for the ceremony.