Footballer sick of secret, reveals he is gay
US national team footballer Robbie Rogers has become the first active international player to reveal they are gay, after coming out in a blog post late last week.
In declaring his sexuality with a short post on his personal website last Friday, the 25-year-old who has been capped 18 times by the American national team, also hinted that he would now retire from the sport.
“For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay.
“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,” he wrote.
“Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football … 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.”
The former Columbus Crew winger had recently been plying his trade in England; first with Championship side Leeds United in 2012 followed by a loan spell with League One club Stevenage.
It is thought Rogers is the first England-based professional player to reveal that they are gay since former Norwich City and Nottingham Forest striker Justin Fashanu did in 1990, provoking a storm of controversy and calls by senior football officials for other gay players to remain silent.
Last year, the English Football Association (FA) launched its long-awaited homophobia awareness and inclusion program, including sending out hundreds of LGBT awareness posters to professional clubs across the UK to be displayed in prominent positions while also pledging its full support for any footballer willing to openly admit that they are gay.
Gay rights activists and gay former sportspeople however have criticised the anti-homophobia goals as being too vague and the board of the FA for itself lacking diversity.