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Robbie Rogers Slams FIFA

Ian Watson's picture

Soccer's Governing body makes Soccer's Gay role-model fume over decision on where next two World Cups are to be held.

In a move which he thought would end his career, two years ago, Robbie Rogers came out as professional soccer's first openly gay player.  Thankfully for him, and the rest of us in the LGBTQ community, he was wrong.  Instead the bold declaration was met with support from his family and teammates, and catapulted him to the forefront of LGBTQ visibility in sports.

Many LGBTQ athletes stay closted out of fear of rejection.  Others stay closted out of fear of being thrust into the spotlight purly for their sexuality.  Regardless of whether this is right or wrong, Rogers has proudly and confidently taken on the position of role model and spokes person for LGBTQ rights and inclusion in sport.  His story has helped many other ameture athletes find the courage to come out, and be free to be themselves.

Now, Rogers is using his voice to speak out... LOUDLY... criticizing FIFA, the international governing body of Soccer.

The world is captivated every four years by the World Cup of Soccer, a sporting event that is larger in every measurable way than even the Olympics. Recently FIFA announced the hosts for the next two World Cups; Russia and Qatar, two countries with extremely anti-gay laws.

After all the publicity and fallout the I.O.C. faced during the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Russia, it's particularly interesting these choices.

In an letter to USA Today, Rogers expresses his disappointment and frustration with FIFA's decision.

"If actions speak louder than words, then the message FIFA sends to gay athletes is painfully clear. Not only don't they have our backs, our lives don't matter. So for any gay soccer player who has hopes of playing for the U.S. National Team at the World Cup, being open about their sexuality could have real consequences when they set foot in countries with laws that could land them in jail."

As the World Cup in 2018 approaches, it will be interesting to watch how the storyline of LGBTQ inclusion in sport continues to evolve.  It's still a few years away... who knows?? Maybe Russia will change??  With role models like Robbie Rogers championing our cause, at least the conversation will hit mainstram media again.

Does this mean widespread vodka boycotts again?

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OUTSPORT TORONTO is generously funded in part by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

OUTSPORT TORONTO is a member of the Federation of Gay Games and the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association.