L.A. Galaxy soccer player Robbie Rogers will grace the cover of Attitude's April issue, sporting only a short bathing suit and his striking good looks. It also has the tagline: "Football's First Gay Superstar," using the European word for soccer. After stepping out of the closet just a year ago, Rogers left the U.K. and joined the West Coast team in the U.S. as a winger and side striker, proving powerful athletes also come in gay form.
"My thing was that I was done and I was going to [come out] on my own terms, away from a football club," Rogers told U.K. magazine Attitude. "I was going to take some time to myself and no-one was going to try and persuade me to do that while I was back in football and no-one was going to persuade me to do it in any other way."
Out hit stands last August with Rogers on the cover, dead-center. Staring straight into the camera, Rogers rocked stubble and a thin tank-top, which did both his armpits and tattoos justice. Keeping quiet on his sexuality diminished his ability to enjoy life's happy moments, Rogers told Out. His silence hindered his enjoyment of playing, witnessing his sister's wedding and even winning the Major League Soccer cup. That was followed up by shirtless photos in the 2013 Out100 (and the news that Rogers was dating Hollywood mogul Greg Berlanti).
Waves of media attention and scrutiny meets any major-league athlete who chooses to disclose their sexuality. Yet, Rogers feared his revelation affecting the daily routines that he worked hard to earn.
"The biggest thing for me was being in the locker room, again, with a group of guys," Rogers told Out in regard to joining the Galaxy team. "Because those are the guys you're with every day; they become like brothers, guys that you fight and train with every day. I didn't want to be in a situation where I was a total outcast, where people wold be walking on eggshells around me, tallying behind my back."
Roger's plan was to leave soccer upon coming out, but his decision to stay made him a trailblazer for queer athletes (visit BeyondIt.com to learn more about his sports activism). He is a friend of Jason Collins' and tweeted out his support this past Sunday when news broke that Collins would be taking to the court as the first openly gay NBA player in a game between the Nets and Lakers.
Very excited to watch @jasoncollins34 tonight more importantly I am proud to call him my friend.
— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) February 23, 2014
Rogers belongs on the field, scoring goals and breaking down barriers, but we also don't mind him in front of our camera without a shirt.
Photo by Danielle Levitt