Robbie Rogers is the first, and only openly gay athlete in Major League Soccer. After coming out as gay in an open letter in February 2013, he immediately retired fearing that it would be too difficult to be in a locker room everyday and that he needed time to work on himself after living a lie for so many years. Well just four months later he was back playing in Los Angeles for the league’s best team. He recently wrote a piece in the USA Today about how soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, doesn’t support gays.
For those who don’t know, the next two World Cups are being played in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022). As we saw during the Sochi Olympics in 2014, gay rights continues to be a major issue as an openly gay player for another country can literally be thrown in jail upon landing in Russia. So for any gay soccer player who dreams of playing in the World Cup for the United States in 2018, it would seem that the very organization that is supposed to protect them and their rights, is actually ensuring that they will stay hidden.
As for 2022, Qatar is already under incredible scrutiny due to human rights violations that will make you sick, and here are just a few examples from Slate and CNN. FIFA is an organization that is littered with corruption, scandal, and everything else imaginable. To see them being delusional not protecting their own athletes is nothing unusual, but it still hurts to see. What this means for Robbie Rogers as a player and person is something that is still to be seen. But I would hate to see someone have to live another 7 years of their lives in secrecy due to Sepp Blatter and the rest of FIFA not protecting them and their own rights. Here’s to hoping the next FIFA President is better then this one.