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Reflecting on coming out
March 29, 2013 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Last month, Robbie Rogers came out and announced he'd left football. In an interview with the Guardian, he reflects on coming out in professional football.

Two men have been out as gay while playing professional football, Justin Fashanu and Anton Hysén (previously). Marcus Urban came out several years after retiring. David Testo came out in 2011 and retired after not finding a team for the 2012 season.

The New York Times interview mentioned in the Guardian article is also available.
posted by hoyland (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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Dammit. Pretty much as expected.

I wish he'd stayed in the game - the US Men's team needs all the talent it can get - but understand that the culture is saddly not evolved enough to allow Rogers to focus on the game, especially in Europe.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:38 AM on March 29, 2013


. for Justin Fashanu

. for Robbie Rogers career.
posted by marienbad at 6:53 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


In related 'American' football news:
CBS Sports: NFL Player Considering Coming Out of the Closet.

NFL PA President Domonique Foxworth: Multiple Gay Players Will Come Out, They are in League Now.
posted by ericb at 7:16 AM on March 29, 2013


Great article. Reminded me of reading about Gareth Thomas coming out a few years back.

As the son of an American football coach, and a lifelong football fan, I know retrograde notions of masculinity and sexuality persist inside locker rooms. But, to borrow a favorite phrase of football commentators, momentum is all on the side of equality.
posted by echocollate at 9:00 AM on March 29, 2013


Given that football is struggling and failing to contain overtly racist chanting I don't see much hope for gay men finding a welcome. It's such a civilized sport but there are large elements of their fanbase and organizations that would make even Tea Partiers embarrassed.
posted by srboisvert at 9:41 AM on March 29, 2013


Is it the fans that are the problem, or their fellow players? I would think that if all of the players were committed to creating a positive environment, that would make coming out safer, and start to change the attitudes and behaviours of the fans.

But maybe I'm wrong - from the NFL link: "This player's true concern, I'm told, is not the reaction inside an NFL locker room but outside of it. The player fears he will suffer serious harm from homophobic fans..."
posted by jb at 9:58 AM on March 29, 2013


Related: Ex-NFLer says he's gay, wishes he'd come out in career.
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on March 29, 2013


Is it the fans that are the problem, or their fellow players? I would think that if all of the players were committed to creating a positive environment, that would make coming out safer, and start to change the attitudes and behaviours of the fans.

But maybe I'm wrong - from the NFL link: "This player's true concern, I'm told, is not the reaction inside an NFL locker room but outside of it. The player fears he will suffer serious harm from homophobic fans..."


There's a really similar line in the David Testo article, but it's in stark contrast to the Rodgers interview, where concerns about other players are a recurring theme. Testo talks about not having problems with players from his team, but from opposing players.
posted by hoyland at 10:38 AM on March 29, 2013


:(

I've been told that the NHL is fairly tolerant, though. Something to do with gay marriage being legal in Canada.
posted by subdee at 1:58 PM on March 29, 2013


Seattle Seahawk Christopher Clemons Says Gay Player Coming Out Would be 'Selfish Act' That Would Divide Team.
posted by ericb at 5:40 PM on March 29, 2013


New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski Says Gay Player Would Be 'Another Teammate and Another Friend'.
posted by ericb at 5:42 PM on March 29, 2013


I know everyone's situation is difficult, and you can't judge people on tough personal choices like whether or not to be open about your sexuality.

But really, footballers? Really? Not a single fucking one of you is prepared to come out? With all the potential to be a sorely-needed role model and change young people's attitudes to being gay across the UK, there's not a single one of you out there that's in a position to be able to do it?

It's incredibly frustrating to me, and I think it says a lot not only about the sport and the fans, but about the mentality of the players.
posted by creeky at 6:08 AM on March 30, 2013


It's only a matter of time before an American pro athlete comes out. I predict basketball. Then the floodgates will open.
posted by Biblio at 11:53 AM on March 30, 2013


The First Out Pro Won't Be The Gay Jackie Robinson
For years we've heard about the mythical coming out of the "gay Jackie Robinson": The first publicly out male athlete in one of the big pro leagues. In one fell swoop he's going to change the face of professional sports and open the floodgates for other gay athletes, just like Robinson did for black players.

The problem is, the first out athlete won't be the gay Jackie Robinson. He can't be.
posted by ericb at 5:00 PM on March 30, 2013


Homosexuals, my mother explained, are men who like other men. You would think footballers would be more welcoming, what with most of them being male and all.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:17 PM on March 30, 2013


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