Leeds United: The Retirement of Robbie Rogers and why it concerns me

Robbie Rogers’s retirement heralds an important step in the history of football, that of the third professional footballer to come out as gay. Sadly, it also heralds the retirement of a man who was capped eighteen times by the United States National Team and who came to these shores on the recommendation of none other than Jurgen Klinsmann. Despite his struggles at Elland Road, there was clearly, at some point, enough about him to suggest he could go on to be a good footballer.

I could not even begin to imagine the difficulty of holding such a secret inside, even less could I begin to imagine the difficulty of holding such a secret inside whilst involved in such a masculine sport as football. Last season Robbie Rogers seemed to be within a group of outsiders, along with two players who never really got a chance at Leeds – Mikael Forssell and Mika Vayrynen. This season Robbie seemed to be ignored from the off, transfer listed along with Danny Pugh despite never really doing much wrong. By all accounts he had a semi-decent pre-season, at least no worse than some of the other players who were involved.

My concern therefore is that Robbie Rogers felt that Leeds United wasn’t a place he could be open about who he was, and came to struggle on the pitch given the mental anguish that he was suffering about his secret. The slightly more unhistorical nature of the MLS inspires less vitriol and less tension. Could Robbie have felt that, in coming to Leeds, he was expected to become the stereotypical image of a footballer? Whilst at Stevenage this season, it seemed less and less to be about football for Robbie and more about living life to its fullest.

I’m sad that Robbie felt he had to retire from football and leave Leeds United in order to open up to the world about who he was. Robbie Rogers will, on the back of a five-minute cameo, go down as the first gay captain of Leeds United. I hope that he didn’t feel that being gay was not an acceptable trait in an English-based footballer. I hope he wasn’t discriminated against for being gay whilst in England. I hope the English dressing room climate didn’t signal the end of his career.

Andy O’Brien suffered from depression and was almost hounded out of Leeds, now plying his trade on another continent. I hope that Robbie Rogers, for being ‘different’, didn’t feel as though he couldn’t discuss his issues, lest he’d be forced out of the club. I’m speculating and wouldn’t like to suggest anything, but on the back of today’s announcement, I feel Robbie needs to be seen as a further example of the problems in football. After all, he was only open when it was time for the end.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).

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9 thoughts on “Leeds United: The Retirement of Robbie Rogers and why it concerns me”

  1. The Andy O’Brien ‘depression’ thing was a smokescreen for the fact that one of our former managers was having a ‘relationship’ with his fiancee at the same time as being his manager – allegedly. Great way to build up team spirit !

  2. I can’t imagine the club secretary was anything to write home about if Larry had been getting about her. Are you sure it wasn’t the club tea-lady? As for Robbie at Leeds – the first time I watched him, he got knocked out after two minutes and the second time, he just was s**t. He then went to Stevenage and didn’t get picked – that wasn’t because he was gay, it was because he wasn’t very good.

  3. Being homosexual in a very hetrosexual environment such as a football team regardless of whether it is Leeds or any other team, is going to be very difficult. Unlike an office environment there are many times in the changing rooms where players are naked. I would not like to be naked in front of another man who found me sexually attractive!

    1. Clive how arrogant are you to assume that every gay man will find you sexually attractive? Or is it really that you’re just insecure with your own sexuality? Perhaps secretly you want them to fancy you? Do you really think that they wouldnt be able to control themselves in your presence? Seriously, don’t flatter yourself!

      1. I don’t have any issues with Homosexuals. They can do what they want. I believe they should have the same rights as any one else. Because I would not be keen having a shower with a homosexual somehow makes me a closet homosexual. I’m not keen on having a shower with a 10 year old girl. Does that mean a must be a closet kiddie fiddler? I’m not keen on eating dog dirt. Does that mean I secretly do? As to whether someone finds me attractive or not, how would you know? I might look like Brad Pitt for all you know ( I don’t).

  4. Clive you’re an idiot. It’s people like you who can’t accept someone who is different that make it so difficult for them to be open about those differences.

    I can’t believe you openly posted that opinion.

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