Openly gay Major League Soccer player Robbie Rogers could have simply wished former L.A. Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan a "happy birthday." He could have attached a meme with a cat or some dog with a cute little birthday hat and called it a day. Instead, Rogers shot off what was for me the Tweet of the week:
Not "hey bro," not "yo dude," not "sup landon."
"Hey Gurl," complete with the "u."
No straight athlete would have tweeted that. And that made it so pitch-perfect.
Intended or not, the tweet is a powerful statement of LGBT equality in sports. Rogers has approached his equality "activism" the way I personally think is most effective: Just being. Being out, being proud, playing sports, sharing pics of your boyfriend when it's natural, and yes, shooting off subtly "gay" messages to your teammates that naturally demonstrate just how much your "difference" is accepted as a part of the team. Out athletes don't have to give speeches, don't have to join non-profit groups, don't have to do the advocacy work that so many non-athletes pursue. Just being out and in sports is the most powerful tool we have in our movement.
And Donovan, by just being himself and leading in the locker room, has been the perfect "ally."
We can't wait to see Rogers back on the pitch this season for the Galaxy, who have asked him to learn yet still another new position. Hopefully he'll keep tweeting like this from wherever he is in the lineup.