For Pride month, we’ve dedicated each day of June to an individual athlete or coach whose shining moment changed LGBTQ sports.
There may be no accomplishment by an out gay man in sports more overlooked and undervalued than the MLS Cup Robbie Rogers won with the L.A. Galaxy.
It wasn’t Rogers’ first MLS Cup title. That he won with the Columbus Crew in 2008, just months after representing the United States in the Summer Olympics.
Yet it was his title with the Galaxy in 2014 that stands out because he did it after coming out publicly as gay, dealing with a string of injuries and the Galaxy trading the then-MLS-leading scorer to acquire Rogers from the Chicago Fire. Outsports named Rogers our Male Athlete of the Year in 2014.
This MLS Cup championship also capped off an incredible 2014 for gay men in American sports: Jason Collins and Derrick Gordon had played in their first games since coming out publicly, and Michael Sam had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams.
While some people point to Sam’s sputtered NFL career as evidence of problems gay men face in major pro sports, Rogers being welcomed onto the Galaxy and ultimately bringing a title to Los Angeles sends a clearer message about the acceptance that underlies even the highest levels of men’s pro sports.
We’ll have another moment of pride tomorrow and every day this month.