While Americans have been given the right to same-sex marriage across more states, LGBT athletes made great strides in 2014. Michael Sam made the majority of the headlines for coming out as gay and becoming the first openly gay athlete in the NFL. He was listed as one of 15 moments on Huffington Post’s LGBT Sports Moments of the Year. Yet, Huffington Post disrespectfully omitted LA Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers from the list.
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They did mention Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee and his response to a homophobic Twitter reply. I’m pleased to Magee was included on the list, but Rogers’ omission is a slap in the face to gay rights activists and LGBT athletes. In case you don’t know Rogers’ story, he came out as gay in January 2013 and effectively retired from soccer. Eventually, he made his return to soccer in 2013 and was traded to the Galaxy in exchange for Mike Magee. For both Rogers and Magee it was a return to their hometown MLS teams.
Magee went on to win the 2013 MLS MVP, while Rogers struggled to find his niche. This season Rogers shined on the field as he was shifted into a left-back position and many are wondering when, not if, he will be called up to the USMNT team. With DeMarcus Beasley’s international retirement, Rogers inclusion into the USMNT squad come January makes sense.
During the 2014 season, Rogers shined on the field and was a key player to the Galaxy’s fifth MLS Cup. Off the field, Rogers penned his own book, Coming Out To Play, about his own coming out experience. As described on the book’s website, “Robbie takes readers on his incredible journey from terrified teenager to a trailblazing out and proud professional soccer player for the L.A. Galaxy, who has embraced his new identity as a role model and champion for those still struggling with the secrets that keep them from living their dreams.”
Since Rogers came out in 2013, the soccer world supported him, which is partly why his soccer retirement was short-lived. He was the first actively male professional athlete to come out. In women’s soccer there was already many LGBT athletes playing on the USWNT and showed that their sports ability had nothing to do with their sexuality.
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Before Jason Collins and Michael Sam’s coming out experiences, Rogers lived through his internal battle in coming out and the aftermath of that decision. Yet, it seems that his coming out doesn’t mean as much compared to Collins and Sam because Rogers only plays soccer. However, that should not be the case and no matter who you are it takes bravery and courage to come out and be their real selves.
It’s great that the Huffington Post came out a LGBT Sports Moments of the Year list. However, they failed miserably failing to mention Rogers and his part in the Galaxy’s fifth MLS Cup title. They failed themselves, Rogers, MLS, and gay athletes everywhere for the omission. Rogers was a trailblazer for gay male athletes and gay males alike. His courage inspired others to come out and not hid their sexuality. At the same time, he proved his worth on the field this year and that should be recognized by Huffington Post as well as the other 15 moments.
Overall, it is baffling that the Huffington Post rightfully recognized an anti-homophobic tweet, but omitted Rogers. Magee’s tweet wasn’t seen my as many within his followers’ timeline. The 2014 MLS Cup Final was seen by over 2 million people and Rogers was a major factor in the Galaxy’s win over the New England Revolution.
While the Huffington Post mentioned 15 worthwhile moments about LGBT Sports Moments, they forgot to include the biggest of them all in Robbie Rogers being apart of the 2014 MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy. Hopefully the Huffington Post wakes up and not only includes Rogers’ accolades, but also issue an apology as well.