1. KEVolution! says

    have we moved on from jason collins already?

    i’m assuming you’re saying that RR is the first openly gay man to be recruited for a major sports team…

    don’t wanna split hairs here, and every achievement is important, but jason collins is the first openly gay man to play a major u.s. sport…as reported by towleroad. 😉

  2. empire22 says

    hey KEV, Jason Collins never PLAYED in a game after he game out. That’s why Robbie made history – he’s the first to actually take the Pro field/pitch/court after he came out.i

  3. Kieran says

    Orlando Cruz, the openly gay boxer, doesn’t count? He’s no counted as playing a professional sport in the US??? I imagine he boxes for free then?

  4. Charlie says

    And Glenn Burke doesn’t seem to be acknowledged much. Apparently he was quite open about being gay even while playing, and the sports reporters covered up by not printing anything.

  5. Russ says

    Dear Naysayers.

    You forgot to mention Dave Kopay, who although retired, was the 1st team player to come out publicly

    Glenn Burke wasn’t out. Not to fans & or the public, TMK.

    Orlando Cruz & Martina don’t play team sports.

    Jason Collins hasn’t yet been signed for a team, nor has he played BBall since he came out.

    Robbie is the first out team sports member WHO HAS PLAYED HIS SPORT. He happens to be white. Get over it girls. Cruz, Collins & Martina aren’t bitching, why are you? Remember, white, black, female, Hispanic, they’re all American, they are role models for LGBT youth. In the long run, they’ll hopefully help some lonely kids stay healthy & alive

  6. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ Andy Towle,

    Your post specifically refers to the first gay man to play in a pro U.S. sport, which is fair since players would have to contend with more homophobia in men’s sports than in women’s sports, mostly from fans. Yes, it’s also true that although Jason Collins has come out, he has not yet taken the field. If you really wanted to stretch the parameters of your post, you might disregard Glenn Burke (from the late 1970s) because although he was out to his teammates and team owners, the public did not know he was out.

    Having possibly disregarded those I mentioned above because your post is very specific, you would still want to acknowledge Orlando Cruz as the first gay man ever to play in a pro U.S. sport: in two pro boxing matches in Orlando, Florida since he came out in October of 2012. Do you want to revise the title of your post to refer only to pro TEAM sports in the U.S.?

  7. David says

    • Glenn Burke came out after retiring
    • Jason Collins hasn’t played since coming out (and, in theory, he might never play).
    • Robbie Rogers is the first male athlete to *play* professionally in a *major* sport.

    It is a milestone. It doesn’t take anything from the others. It’s a reason to celebrate, nt to fight over.

  8. curmudgeon says

    If we really wanted to split hairs, see outsports. Andrew Goldstein played Major League Lacrosse for two years 2005-2006. He was out the whole time. Recruited and played. I’m not trying to knock Robbie Rogers, but let’s cut the sensationalism. I think it’s a milestone in terms of visibility, but it’s not a “first.”

  9. melvin says

    I’m laughing my ass off here. How many gay athletes can dance on the head of a pin? The real measure of success isn’t when a Jackie Robinson plays, it’s when Joe Borderline Failure Shmo plays.

  10. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ Zeta,

    I don’t think Andy was being racist here by omitting Orlando Cruz. I think Andy meant TEAM sports, but didn’t specify in his post. That’s an editorial error rather than racist intent.

  11. will says

    None of the gay players in the past are being slighted or “slapped in the face”. This is just about the gay players in professional team sports with a major league (in the US) . The Big Four are the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA. The other leagues are generally Arena Football, Major League Lacrosse, Major League Socccer, and Women’s National Basketball. And Canadian Football if you want to include our neighbors to the north.

    The football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer leagues get the highest television coverage and take in the most revinue, so that’s probably why we’ve chosen team members from these leagues. Technically, Robbie isn’t one of the “big four”, so, if we go by that standard, we’re still waiting for a major league player to play.

    And nobody is slapping Martina Navratilova or any other gay player from the past “in the face”. Get a grip, some of you drama people. Robbie was last night. The thread is meant to celebrate Robbie’s playing last night. Nobody’s sticking a knife into Martina or anybody else. Spread your bitterness on another thread without taking away from last night.

  12. ripper says

    Congrats to Robbie.

    I would buy his jersey, but there’s no way in hell I’m walking around with Herbalife emblazoned across my chest.

    Let’s hope he makes the U.S. national team before World Cup so I can buy his USA team jersey.

  13. ripper says

    @will: There’s no such thing as the “big four” sports leagues anymore. Major League Soccer has long passed NHL attendance and routinely gets higher average attendance than NBA games, although that comparison is not entirely fair because basketball arenas are so much smaller. Additionally, MLS has a national network broadcasting contract.

    To suggest it’s in the same tier as lacrosse or the WNBA is ludicrous. Stop trying to diminish the significance of this.

  14. Nathaniel Siegel says

    Glenn Lawrence Burke (November 16, 1952 – May 30, 1995) was a Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics from 1976 to 1979.
    Burke was the first and only Major League Baseball player known to have been out to his teammates and team owners during his professional career. He was the first to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality.[1][2] He died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.[3][4]
    “They can’t ever say now that a gay man can’t play in the majors, because I’m a gay man and I made it.” – Glenn Burke[5][6]

    From Wikipedia

  15. Acronym Jim says

    Regardless of the obvious significance of Robbie Roger’s achievement, the title of the post is factually inaccurate and should be revised in the name of journalistic integrity. Seriously, I thought this was a Belonsky post until I checked the byline.

  16. mark says


    Good for him.

    Gradually I hope that other brave athletes feel comfortable enough to join in making their presence known.

    The picture of Robbie smiling and relaxed is awesome. You can see the confidence on his face. I hope he feels the love. He deserves our support and respect.

    Just the courage he shows to our kids, that you can be yourself, set goals in life and achieve. He is doing so much more than he knows.

  17. Francis #1 says

    No, the MLS is not on par with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, nor is it on par with the PGA (has their own channel, ratings for major events and events with Tiger far surpass anything the MLS could do), UFC has higher ratings and higher attendance numbers, NASCAR has higher ratings. Tennis even can also be considered more popular (the slams, the finals of majors, finals with big name players, have higher ratings than anything the MLS can produce). This is an extremely big deal but let’s get real and not try to prop up MLS to make a point. MLS is a niche sport and the attendance numbers are very much a misnomer, they play in huge stadiums with low ticket prices. The following in MLS is very dedicated and committed to the sport, but it is not a major sport in the USA.

    With all of that out the way, this is a BIG deal. It doesn’t matter really how big the MLS is, and maybe he’s not the first but Robbie’s story is the most significant. Maybe it’s not a national headline story but a barrier has been broken and the conversation continues. It puts the issue of gay players in sports out there. It gives people the opportunity to show their support and love for those brave gay players. That’s progress. It not only helps with LGBT/straight teens who have a role model to look up to, but it also makes it much easier for professional athletes currently playing feel more secure in coming out, if they so choose.

    We should be celebrating this feat, maybe it’s not a game changer but progress is progress and Robbie is an awesome representative of the community. Seeing him step on the field to cheers was so exciting. It’s a great moment for our community and for Robbie.

  18. Michael says

    Can some people quit the “cry me a racism river” crap?

    Where was the ‘racism’ with Collins??? But now it’s racist to point out Rogers is the first male athlete to actually play in a US Major League?

    Wow, you guys need to learn how to pick your battles with your whole racism card.

  19. Michael says

    And, yes, Rogers is totally cute. I really do think a lot of ‘not gay’ men wouldn’t mind flipping him over and having their way with him. Not to sound shallow, but I will, but Rogers gains bonus points for being the first since he’s so damn cute.

  20. andrew says

    Robbie Rogers and Jason Collins can be the kind of role models that gay boys who are really into sports need. I think that many gay boys who don’t fit the typical gay stereotypes often feel quite alone. We have to celebrate all the different ways of being gay. The gay jock has been an area with few if any role models.

  21. Marton says

    Robbie is a HERO. And L.A welcomed him with open arms. L.A Galaxy riot squad which is the biggest fans of L.A and hundreds of gold members started cheering his name. The crowd of 25,000 all got on their feet and gave him an ovation. Robbie is helping save lives by opening minds.

    Thank you Robbie! So proud to have you part of our LGBT community!

  22. Kyle C. says

    We love you Robbie.

    You are an icon not only for the gay community but young gay boys. And the fact that you’re soooo handsome doesn’t hurt anybody :)

  23. Two Dads says

    Robbie represents so much. I’m not even listening to the pollution from the typical trolls who like to diminish the significance of all gay triumphs like this by consistently making a negative comment.

    ROBBIE: WE ARE HONORED TO HAVE YOU PART OF OUR COMMUNITY and what you did here is HISTORY making. You are amazing.

  24. Fiat says

    Robbie Rogers is not only incredibly skilled on the field, and a focused soccer player, he is now authentically himself and representing so much more than just a sport. Go Robbie!

  25. Momentum 505 says

    The crowd really went wild for him. The reporters said it was one of the biggest shows of welcome shown to a new player.

    Robbie, thanks for being you. I love MLS soccer and love it even more now.

  26. Chuck Mielke says

    I think we can cut Andy some slack on the assumption that he merely quoted the sportscaster from the clip. It is noteworthy that Mr. Rogers (no, not the guy in the cardigan) is caucasian and gay. He becomes a face for white people to identify with and we cannot underestimate the power of that fact. Haters will cling to the fact that he “only” plays soccer and the sports world of football and baseball is still “safe” for straight white men. When those hurdles are leapt, equality will grow but, for a short time, so will anti-gay violence.

  27. Perimeternow says

    He’s a total class act. Robbie’s quotes from various interviews are quite powerful and sow a very strong willed, brilliant man. I actually think he should be a public speaker too because he’s so articulate and bright.

  28. Nacho Cheese says

    Andrew and UFFDA are the same poster. They make the same points in different threads using the other handle. So transparent it’s amusing. PasAndrew/UFFDA just be honest.

  29. Parker says

    I love soccer. It’s an art form.

    Can someone explain to me why you don’t like soccer? I honestly can’t understand anyone not liking the sport. It baffles me because it’s so beautifully played.

  30. Ryan says

    a lot of people need to calm down and cheer for Robbie Rogers. he’s playing the sport that the most kids play today and is exploding in popularity. all of them, most especially those who grow up to realize they’re gay, now get to know they can still get as far as their talent and health can take them with a soccer ball. that’s a wonderful thing.

  31. Acronym Jim says

    @anon: Orlando Cruz, for a recent example is an openly gay pro U.S. sports player.

    For a more complete and comprehensive list:,_gay,_bisexual,_and_transgender_sportspeople

    Context matters. I celebrate Robbie Roger’s achievements, but the headline of this post continues to be factually inaccurate and sloppy reporting. Period. If I want sloppy reporting, I’ll go to Fox News, but I’ve learned to expect better from Andy and Towleroad.

  32. Kieran says

    The media doesn’t seem as enthusiastic for this adorable gay trailblazer it seems. Robbie Rogers is a bit too good-looking, too boy-next-door, too All-American, to be held up as representative of professional gay athletes. We’re still more comfortable with gay = Liberace.

  33. FakeOutrage says

    I think the mainstream media is not too gung ho on Robbie for the most obvious reason…he had a chance to be brave by announcing he was gay and then continue to play..but what did he do?..announced he was gay and “quit”. That’s the fact and the reality. So then, Jason Collins comes out while still active in a MAJOR sport that people relate to…is black and still doesn’t quit. That is what a brave man does.

    To most people, Robbie is just some whiny, scared white guy who is now piggybacking off of Collins. And that is not what a hero does. Sorry, that’s what it is.

  34. Bryan says

    I don’t see what’s wrong with the headline. Most of the people mentioned either were not OUT in the commonly used sense as in the general public doesn’t know about them or came out when they were semi-retired. I think the problem with Orland Cruz is that when people use the word “play” in regards to sport, it’s usually for football, tennis, hockey etc. Like no one really says “I play boxing”. Hence, the headline might be wrong for phrasing, but I don’t think there’s any “whitewashing” at play here.

  35. millerbeach says

    Thanks, Robbie. It takes a lot of guts to be real in this world…thank you for being real, for being yourself. You will never regret it. I wish you all the best. Plus, you’re a cutie! 😉

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