Sunday was a historic night for gay rights.
Robbie Rogers became the first recognized openly gay athlete to play in a major American sports league, stepping on the field at the Home Depot Center for Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy as a 77th-minute substitute. As soon as Rogers’ name was announced, the hometown Galaxy fans gave the 26-year-old a rousing ovation, showing their support for Rogers and a recognition of the importance of the moment.
Rogers initially came out in February via an open letter on his website, likewise announcing a sabbatical from soccer. However, Rogers gave his first interview since coming out in late March, indicating he might return to soccer, and by May was reported to be training with the Galaxy. The team later acquired his rights from the Chicago Fire in exchange for forward Mike Magee, setting up Sunday’s debut.
In late April, NBA free agent center Jason Collins came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated cover article. However, he has not played since that announcement. Likewise, former Dodgers and Athletics outfielder Glenn Burke claimed he was out to his teammates and the media during his Major League Baseball career in the 1970s, but did not receive public recognition.
Regardless of the past history of gay athletes, Sunday was a heartwarming moment, so check it out (and highlights of the Galaxy-Seattle Sounders match) in the video below. Rogers’ debut comes at about the seven-minute mark.
Thumnail photo via Twitter/@sports_fr