Fresh off his second MLS Cup championship, the L.A. Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers is continuing his book tour this week, and he met with The Huffington Post to offer his thoughts on why more openly gay professional athletes aren’t coming out. The 27-year-old chronicles his own self-discovery in his new memoir, Coming Out to Play.
Rogers says that prior to coming out, one of his biggest regrets — and subsequently something he advises people in the closet not to do – was not talking to anyone about what he was going through. “Just find someone you can talk to — someone away from your team and your family that you can trust,” he says, adding, “To keep that in for so long: I think it’s really unhealthy.”
Rogers vividly recalls the first person he ever came out to — a woman he met in London, whom he barely knew. A transformative moment for him, Rogers says the incident was undoubtedly mundane for the woman, who simply asked Rogers if he was straight or gay. “And I’m like, ‘I’m gay,’ and I just said it, and I was like whoa, I just said this.” In that moment, Rogers realized how unwarranted his fears of coming out had been, how “easy” it was to just say it to this woman, and he decided to come to his family soon after.
With athletes like Rogers, Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and many others choosing to live openly over just the past few years, Rogers says he is surprised that the domino effect of more openly gay professional athletes hasn’t occurred. “Everyone has their own coming-out, and I would never try to push anyone to do that, but I see what it’s like on the other side. I would hope that other people would see that and want to do the same,” he says.