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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" »


ABC Picks Up Sitcom Based on Gay Soccer Player Robbie Rogers

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Earlier this week, it was announced ABC closed a deal for a new sitcom called "Men In Shorts," based on the life of Robbie Rogers (pictured), openly gay U.S. soccer player, who became the first openly gay man in a North American pro sports league.

The showrunner for the project is Claudia Lonow; producers are Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Jordon Nardino of "Desperate Housewives" will be a writer, along with Lonow. All four will serve as executive producers.

Deadline reports on the project, and it sounds like the story will incorporate Rogers' real life experience; it's described as being about "a young pro soccer player who takes one small step out of the closet and one giant leap into the spotlight."


Guy Candy: 20 Famous Men Who Got Shirtless and Sexy on Instagram This Week — PHOTOS

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Out L.A. Galaxy player Robbie Rogers showed off his new backpack on Instagram in the best way possible this week.

Also, in this week's guy candy:

Russell Tovey, Ricky Martin, Alex Minsky, Brad Goreski, Scott Eastwood, Tom Daley, Flume and Chet Faker, Derrick Gordon, Harry Shum Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Dan Savage, Terry Miller, Darryl Stephens, Rory McIlroy, Jake Shears, Gilles Marini, Dan Osborne (below), Blake Skjellerup, and the Flaunt flavor of the week, Nick Jonas.

Enjoy, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Guy Candy: 20 Famous Men Who Got Shirtless and Sexy on Instagram This Week — PHOTOS" »


Comedy Series Inspired By Gay Soccer Player Robbie Rogers in the Works

Robbie rogersA comedy series detailing the story of openly gay soccer player Robbie Rogers has received a production greenlight from Universal Television, Deadline reports.

The series, part of producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s deal at Universal TV, will center on Rogers’ experiences as the first openly gay man to compete in a top U.S. professional sports league. Rogers came out in February 2013 before joining the LA Galaxy team later that year.

Zadan and Meron, the openly gay duo behind the film versions of Chicago and Hairspray, will serve as executive producers for the upcoming series. Rogers will also serve as a producer. 


Gay Soccer Star Robbie Rogers Has 'Attitude': PHOTO

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When soccer player Robbie Rogers came out last year, after leaving the sport and his former Leeds United team, he certainly made waves. When he signed with the L.A. Galaxy and became the first openly gay major league soccer player, he became a star. Now, in a cover article for April's issue of Attitude magazine, Rogers has revealed that the road to self-acceptance was not so easily traversed.

Sports Mole reports:

In an interview with Attitude magazine, the 26-year-old said: "Definitely in my career there were so many times when I struggled with my mental health. That affected the way I played.

"For younger people that are closeted and they see that it's illegal to be gay in Qatar, then they know that the World Cup's going to be there and maybe they're football fans? That's so damaging on their psyche, on their mental health.

"My thing was that I was done and I was going to [come out] on my own terms, away from a football club. I was going to take some time to myself and no-one was going to try and persuade me to do that while I was back in football and no-one was going to persuade me to do it in any other way."

Rogers continues to be an inspirational presence in professional sports. He, along with the NBA's Jason Collins and college football star Michael Sam, have kickstarted a whole new level of openness in American sports.


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