In his column Former Columbus Crew Midfielder Robbie Rogers Comes Out And Steps Away In Honest Blog Post, my colleague Phil Naegely discusses the decision by Robbie Rogers to free himself of a secret he has kept for his entire life. I agree with every word of what Naegely correctly views as a very powerful and truthful decision.
I admire Rogers deciding to come out and reveal what he has been going through. He unknowingly will became a role model for others whether homosexual or not to be honest with themselves in the sport they play or in real life.
There are a couple of things that hit me the wrong way with the timing of this news. Please don’t get me wrong, I think Rogers is very courageous for what he is doing. I can never put my shoes in his or even come close to understand what he has been going through or will go through.
In his blog post he stated that he will be stepping away from the game to come to terms with his decision. That rubs me the wrong way. Currently, he’s an unattached player. This news, this decision, the reveal would have had so much more impact if Rogers was playing with a club right now. It would be so much bigger if he continued his career finding another club or league to play with. Imagine him coming to Major League Soccer now and becoming the face of the issue in America.
I understand he needs time to reflect but for me it’s sort of a cop out. If he really wanted to change the way people view homosexuals in sport or in the locker rooms then he should have said this when he was playing. He should have said this as he was signing his new contract. That would have been a larger story.
Now he says what he wants to say and steps away out of the limelight. Maybe he doesn’t want to be a role model but by him coming out this publicly he should have known that he will. If he wanted to stay away from the game and media spotlight he should have come out to his friends and family and then moved on.
What he has done today does help him and his life but it has no bearing to that athlete who is currently with a squad or team who can’t come out. That player who doesn’t know how his teammates or club will react needs some sort of support. This would have been the start.
Rogers coming out doesn’t help sports or the cause of homosexual athletes. He will continue to get accolades throughout the day but what do those really mean. If he actually continued playing then he would deserve those accolades and media attention.
I don’t want to sound condescending. I don’t want anyone to believe that I don’t respect his decision but it would have been so much more powerfully done in another way at another time. For now the status quo will continue.
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