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Arizona Cardinals Video Director Rob Brakel Comes Out As Gay

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Rob Brakel, video director for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, said the response has been overwhelmingly positive since he came out publicly as gay this week.

"Reception has been unreal," Brakel told Towleroad. "Couple players that know were awesome. The head coach, GM, and our owner Michael (Bidwill) have been nothing short of AMAZING. They have my back and are happy for me." 
 
But Brakel, who came out Wednesday in an interview with OutSports before the Cardinals' game against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday, also said that for him, the decision hasn't really sunk in yet.  
 
"Busy with game last night, flying back, went to bed at 4am and just woke up to phone going crazy," he told Towleroad on Friday. "I do need a few more hours of sleep but I have to get to work soon. In time I think it will be great for me." 
 
The Cardinals defeated the Rams and are atop the NFC at 11-3, adding to what Brakel called "the biggest year for me." 
 
Brakel, a 17-year veteran of NFL video crews, told OutSports he was inspired to come out publicly while reading gay MLS player Robbie Rogers'' book, "Coming Out To Play," on the team plane Wednesday. OutSports reports: 

"I don't care anymore," Brakel said from his hotel room, the shaking coming through his voice over the phone. "Everyone around me knows who I am. I'm a guy who will give the shirt off his back to help you. I'll do whatever I can to help people. And I've had enough." ... 

As Brakel read the book, the rest of the Cardinals filed past him on the plane. He knew some might look down and see his choice of reading material, but he didn't care. Not only was he engrossed in the story, many of them already knew or suspected he was gay.

Those who've known Brakel was gay include Cardinals head coach Bruce Ariens, to whom Brakel came out at the NFL combine as Michael Sam made his NFL debut earlier this year. And those who've suspected include star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who did "the gay math" on Brakel. 

Brakel acknowledged it's tough being gay around the NFL, and he's thought about quitting at times.

A Twitter search for "gay" and "Cardinals" over the last few days shows exactly Brakel and others are up against — and why it's so important for them to come out.


LA Galaxy Player Robbie Rogers and 'Arrow' Creator Greg Berlanti Split

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In an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers confirmed he's no longer in a relationship with Greg Berlanti, creator of Arrow and producer of Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, and Dawson's Creek, among others.

The news had orignially been reported by gossip blogger Perez Hilton earlier this week. 

Said Rogers:

"When Perez posted that, I don’t think I even cared. I don’t think a lot of people do care. I understand that my personal life is going to be more and more in the spotlight. And it’s not going to stop me from dating people or being public about it. I just want to live a normal life. It doesn’t bother me, to be honest...We dated for a year and half. And we split up. Stuff happens. But again, we’re still friends. And we’re very supportive of each other.”

Rogers also chatted in the interview about why he decided to come out, rather than leave soccer for good.

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "LA Galaxy Player Robbie Rogers and 'Arrow' Creator Greg Berlanti Split" »


Robbie Rogers Talks New Book, Coming Out, MLS Cup Win - VIDEO

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Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay man to compete in a major North American sports league, has opened up about his journey to becoming an out-and-proud pro soccer player.

Speaking with Blaine Stewart for News Channel 3, Rogers discusses his candid memoir “Coming Out To Play”, coming out in his 20s, his big win in the MLS Cup and becoming a role model for LGBT youth.

In October, it was announced ABC closed a deal for a new sitcom called "Men In Shorts," based on Robbie's life.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Robbie Rogers Talks New Book, Coming Out, MLS Cup Win - VIDEO" »


Robbie Rogers Unleashes His Monster: VIDEO

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Living in the closet "creates a monster inside you that you just want to get rid of," according to gay MLS star Robbie Rogers.

Rogers made the comments to Today's Maria Shriver during an interview about his new book, "Coming Out To Play," which was released Tuesday. 

BookRogers also said that during his brief retirement after coming out in 2013 — it was working with young gay people through groups like GLSEN that inspired him to get back in the sport.

"I realized that just by playing and being on the soccer field, that's a symbol right there, and that can encourage and give people hope," Rogers said. "It was really those kids inspiring me that was kind of like my final decision — I need to sack up, I need to go back into soccer.'" 

In an interview about the book with the Associated Press, Rogers says he's surprised more pro athletes haven't come out since he was joined by the NBA's Jason Collins and the NFL's Michael Sam. 

"To be honest, I thought when I came out and Jason and Michael, I thought there'd be a chain reaction. It's been a lot slower. I guess that just reminds me how big a problem it is in sports culture with homophobia. They don't feel comfortable."

But the best way to combat that homophobia may be to come out, Rogers suggests. He told The Hollywood Reporter that while he used to hear a lot of gay slurs in the locker room, that's not the case anymore: 

"When I was closeted, I would hear the most ridiculous homophobic things…and now it’s totally different. People are more sensitive and more aware of what they’re saying. They’re very, very supportive, and we’ll talk about things like marriage equality. I would be petrified, so scared to bring up a conversation like that with my teammates, but my teammates come to me. We still have the banter and the jokes, and yes, there still are a bunch of naked men taking showers together, but it’s a very different atmosphere. I’ve been naked and had discussions with guys in the shower and them asking me, 'Is it hard for you to shower with guys?' I’ve been doing it for so long and…teammates become like brothers."

In the book, Rogers reveals that he went through a similar process with his family, which once ridiculed him for his interest in "My LIttle Pony" and for playing with dolls. Since he came out, his parents and siblings have become his biggest supporters. 

Rogers has several book-signing events planned on the West Coast if you'd like to try to catch up with him. 

On a side note, two days before the book came out, Rogers' LA Galaxy won the first leg of MLS' Western Conference Finals. They meet again Sunday.  

Watch Rogers' interview with Shriver, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Robbie Rogers Unleashes His Monster: VIDEO" »


Gay MLS Player Robbie Rogers Gets Contract Extension, Prepares To Release Autobiography

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Robbie Rogers is living proof that an openly gay man can not only play a major American professional sport — but excel at one, too.

While the NFL's Michael Sam and the NBA's Jason Colllins are searching for teams, Rogers is enjoying a resurgent season with the MLS' LA Galaxy, and now he has a multi-year contract extension to show for it, the team announced Thursday.

But it hasn't been easy. After Rogers came out in 2013, then retired, then un-retired and joined the Galaxy, he became the first openly gay man to play in one of the five major North American professional sports.

Rogers.Robbie1However, one aspect of the story that was largely overlooked in the gay media is that Rogers, a one-time member of the US National Team, didn't play particularly well initially. The layoff left him out of shape, he was plagued by injuries and, he revealed recently, he was still dealing with the enormity of being out.

"It was really tough," Rogers told The LA Times last month. "People think when you come out, it's perfect now and everyone loves you. [But] now you're dealing with all those years of being closeted. And it didn't matter how supportive people were. It was me wrapping my head around that, like, 'No, I'm just another guy on the team'."

After what The LA Times called a "disastrous" performance in last year's playoffs, Rogers spent a lot of time on the bench at the beginning of this season. But his big break came in June when Galaxy Coach Bruce Arenas moved Rogers from midfield to defense, where he became a starter. Since then, the Galaxy has posted a 10-2-7 record and they are preparing to take on the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference Finals.

"We are excited that Robbie will remain a part of our organization going forward," Arenas said Thursday. "He has proven to be a dynamic player in our League and an integral part of our success this year. We look forward to his continued contributions in the years to come."

Rogers said the following on Twitter:

In addition to celebrating his contract extension, Rogers is set to release an autobiography, "Coming Out to Play," on Nov. 25. and he will soon be the subject of an ABC sitcom, "Men In Shorts."

How's that for an example of just how good things can be the other side of the closet door — at least once you get over the initial shock?


Gay Iconography: Robbie Rogers Leaves His Mark

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After a history of extraordinary gay athletes, like Martina Navratilova, Orlando Cruz and Glenn Burke, the last few years have seen more active players beginning to open up publicly about their sexuality. Jason Collins may have been the first publicly gay active athlete in a North American team sport, but it was the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers who was the first out athlete to actually play after coming out.

RogersBefore making history, Robbie had played on the United States men’s national soccer team as well as for Leeds United. In 2013, a 25-year-old Rogers simultaneously announced that he way gay and retiring from soccer in a blog post.

“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.”

He wouldn’t stay retired for long. He played his first match as a substitute for the Galaxy on May 26, 2013, (just weeks after Collins came out and credited Rogers for blazing a trail).

Even though his retirement was short-lived, his place in history has been secured. Hear Robbie’s thoughts on coming out, professional sports and more of our favorite clips,
AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Gay Iconography: Robbie Rogers Leaves His Mark" »


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