Retired gay soccer pro Robby Rogers: “I’m just happy to be out and being honest with people”
It was in mid-February that soccer pro Robby Rogers posted a ‘Letter Of Life’ to his Web site and publicly came out to the world as a gay man.
Then he retired which means there has still not been a single male player in a major team sport in the US to come out while still an active player.
Rogers does not rule out the possibility of coming back but he tells The New York Times that, right now, it is not a priority for him. He hopes “people will understand that I need to be a little selfish about this.”
“I’m definitely not closing any doors,” he said. “Maybe I will go back. Right now, I’m just happy to be out and being honest with people. But just because I’m out doesn’t mean I’m 100 percent healthy. It’s been 25 years that I haven’t been myself. Twenty-five years of lying. That’s really, really hard.”
He shares the pressure of remaining closeted to everyone who knew him including family and close friends.
“I’m a Catholic, I’m a conservative, I’m a footballer and I’m gay,” he said. “Imagine living all that time with just a cramp in your stomach. I kept thinking, I hope I don’t do something that makes people wonder, is Robbie gay?”
He added: “I was never close to coming out before. Never. I never went to any gay bars, never hooked up with a guy. It was so unhealthy and so bad that I felt this way. Two years ago, I would have thought that I would never come out during my entire life.”
Last summer, Rogers finally accepted who he was and told someone he was gay. “Technically, the first person was some girl I met at a bar,” he said, laughing. “I told her I was gay, and she still tried to hook up with me. It was weird.”
Here’s my favorite quote in the story: “I’ve played in Olympics and won championships, but I’ve told people, forget all of that: telling my family was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. And posting that letter was second.”