Major League Soccer player Robbie Rogers simultaneously came out and resigned from his sport today. Rogers writes on his personal blog:
Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.
I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest. Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.
Rogers played several seasons for Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew before joining Britain’s Leeds United team last year. In 2007 he played for Team USA in the FIFA World Cup tournament. In 2008 he competed for the United States at the Beijing Olympics.
UPDATE: Athlete Ally founder and former collegiate wrestling champion Hudson Taylor has issued a statement in reaction to Rogers’ announcement.
“I applaud Rogers’ courage and honesty in what continues to be a struggle for gay and lesbian athletes around the world. With yet another athlete coming out and feeling the need to retire, it is time that we, as an athletic community, realize the responsibility we have in making athletes feel comfortable and confident being themselves. Sports participants and fans are central to the greatest civil rights cause of our time, and I urge all members of the sports community to recognize the important role we play.”