As an open-minded American you have to be proud that we as a country are now pot-committed to gay rights. It is no longer a question of if gays will be completely accepted, it’s more of a question of when. Although there will be more challenges yet to come, at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel after so many years of darkness for those who have felt it difficult to live the way the deserve to live. That’s why the media has descended on the issue of gays in professional sports because it is one of the last true vestiges of male bravado the seemed to be impenetrable to the gay community. Because of this, Michael Sam’s announcement has been welcomed with open arms, as it should. My intent of this article is not to downgrade Michael Sam’s bravery. Most people thought the NFL locker room was years away from ever welcoming a gay player so it’s good to see that was not the case. However, my article is instead intended to show disappointment about how Robbie Rogers announcement seems to be being brushed aside because he was an openly gay American soccer player.
When Sportscenter anchors announce Michael Sam’s decision in the beginning of the statement they say he is the “first gay athlete coming out in a major American sport”. So MLS isn’t a major American sport? Mind you this is a sport that is growing by leaps and bounds and outranks the NHL and NBA in attendance figures. It is also an international sport with many more critiques and a history of hooliganism, and hooligans are some of the most racist and stubborn sports fans in the world. Robbie Rogers was a pioneer for American athletes and he should be mentioned along with Jason Collins and Michael Sam. Not doing so is a disservice to his bravery because it’s almost as if the media is saying that since he is a soccer player his announcement was less brave and important than that of an NBA or NFL player.
Soccer is an important sport in this country and Robbie Rogers is an important role model for the soccer community and the gay community. What he did was very difficult and I for one find myself getting annoyed anytime this news goes reported and he is made to seem like he was only a small contributor to the case for openly gay athletes in professional sports. Every openly gay athlete should be commended equally, it is a tough thing to do in any sport.
Note: I know it’s not about who gets credit but I feel like the anti-soccer bias still alive within American media is leading to an unfair minimization of Robbie’s bravery and I felt it was a point that needed to be expressed.