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Robbie Rogers Applauds Premiere League Star Thomas Hitzlsperger for Coming Out: VIDEO

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LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers applauds former Premier League star Thomas Hitzlsperger's coming out, in a commentary in The Guardian:

HitzlspergerI've been fortunate enough to return to the game, this time as an out and proud gay man, knowing full well that my actions could be of help to another young Robbie Rogers, whether his first love is soccer or science or fashion or all of the above. As I've been writing my memoirs this past year, I've thought a lot about the experience of growing up gay, keeping that secret, and the scars it leaves behind.

For me, and I imagine most gay and lesbian people, it's as if that frightened 12-year-old child is still there inside you. When we see men like Thomas make this announcement, it helps to heal the scared gay kid that still resides in each of us, remembering how alone we felt. But we were never really alone. And it helps me to know that someone I watched and admired as a boy was just like me when he was out there competing on the field. I would say that I can't imagine what a difficult decision it was for Thomas to come out publicly – but I can easily imagine. In fact it is the most terrifying thing I have ever done.

It always feels funny when people congratulate me for coming out, because they're congratulating me for simply telling the truth. But at a moment like this, my first thought is to congratulate Thomas. To thank him for taking the risk, for himself and for all the people who will be helped and inspired by his brave act. We can only hope that by joining the conversation, he can help move it forward.

Congratulations, Thomas. I hope this helps you find the same peace I was fortunate to find by sharing my truth.

In related news, Rogers, Brittney Griner, and Blake Skjellerup are featured in a new CNN International program "Journey of the Gay Athlete" which airs Saturday.

Watch the promo, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Lovely, sad, and true.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 10, 2014 11:03:34 AM


  2. "I can't imagine...but I can easily imagine..."?

    What?

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 10, 2014 11:04:35 AM


  3. I am happy for Hitzlsperger that he's come out but let's not canonise him as any sort of hero.

    He is an uber-privileged, multi-millionaire living in a gay friendly country who waited until he had retired before coming out.

    I am not criticising him for staying closeted until he did, but he would have been far more effective at tackling homophobia in football if he had come out while still playing.

    I have heard Hitzlsperger coming out with the tired and lazy line that homophobia in football means it will be a long time before a player can come out.

    I call bullS*** on that. If teens in high school are able to come out then I don't see why a multi-millionaire should lack that courage.

    Hitzlsperger is coming out now so he can have a career post-football - in the same way that John Amaechi did - cower in the closet during his career and then become a talking head about homophobia when the playing career is over.

    Posted by: MaryM | Jan 10, 2014 11:17:32 AM


  4. I love Robbie for everything he is doing for the lgbt community and projects with which he is involved. I just wish he would come back to top soccer form and make an impact on the USMNT. He'll be about 30 at the world cup in 2018 (in Russia) and it would be awesome to see him get to that level again. Of course that would require less dedication to his projects helping with lgbt issues. It's a trade off but as a gay soccer fan, I wouldn't mind if that is what Robbie wants for himself.

    Posted by: scudpipe | Jan 10, 2014 11:22:49 AM


  5. Handsome men, it must not be easy to come out when active in football.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Jan 10, 2014 11:36:06 AM


  6. MARYM, so you're not criticizing him? Are you sure? Read your post again.

    Posted by: Brady Black | Jan 10, 2014 12:57:27 PM


  7. They should totally hook up.

    Posted by: J | Jan 10, 2014 1:17:46 PM


  8. I find it interesting that so many are quick to criticize people for not coming out sooner because they were fearful of losing their jobs and or income. How many of you would give up your ability to pay for your housing, food and the other basics that are necessary to live? Let's support each other and work on changing societies which necessitate some people to stay closeted or lose their livelihoods. One should not have to choose between their chosen profession and their ability to live a decent life. I always happy when somebody chooses to come out, but unless their behavior is negatively impacting the lives of others, then they have the right to come out on their own time just like most of us did.

    Posted by: Alex | Jan 10, 2014 2:02:34 PM


  9. Well said, Alex!

    I agree 100%

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 10, 2014 3:22:06 PM


  10. I totally agree with Alex when it comes to those for which coming out can damage both their careers and their earning potential. Like it or not, athletes and male leading actors in romantic roles can be seriously hurt should they come out during their prime. For now, it may be better for many of them to stay closeted until they retire or until the environment changes. This, of course, does not apply to other jobs for which coming out will have no negative impact. In addition, every gay athlete who comes out will bring the day closer when this will no longer be a problem.

    Posted by: RonCharles | Jan 10, 2014 4:41:51 PM


  11. MaryM, do the following:

    1. Find a park with wideopen spaces
    2. Get a friend (male if you're male, female if you're female) to come with you, with a pair of studded cleats like soccer players wear
    3. Start jogging, with your friend 10 yards behind you
    4. Have your friend rush at you and do a studs up tackle, preferably on your ankle

    As you scream in agony, writhing on the ground, possibly looking at a bone sticking out of your leg or seeing your foot twisted in a way it's not supposed to twist, maybe you and all the others with your boring "but....but....he made millions, he should have come out while playing" nonsense will understand that it's not as simple as you make it out to be.

    Go on, do it this weekend and report back to us.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jan 10, 2014 7:34:12 PM


  12. Great! Thomas is another gay athlete that gay boys, in particular, who are interested in playing sports, can look to for inspiration. Teenage gay boys can see that their being gay doesn't mean they can't be great athletes.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 11, 2014 9:09:19 AM


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