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Robbie Rogers speaks out on potential U.S. Olympic boycott

Aug 14, 2013, 8:05 PM EDT

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Robbie Rogers has been in the Olympics, having proudly represented his country during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. And Rogers is gay, having famously come out in February, the first male athlete in U.S. professional team sports to do so.

So when he says the United States should absolutely not boycott the winter Olympics in protest of Russia’s anti-gay laws, it’s coming from a perspective of personal history and knowledge.

In a column he wrote for USA Today, the LA Galaxy winger said he has been fielding numerous questions on how the United States should react to Russia’s new anti-gay laws and the growing concern that foreign athletes and fans at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi could face prosecution.

Rogers told the emotional story of walking into the stadium in Beijing as a representative of his homeland, one of the truly amazing and unforgettable life snapshots. He wouldn’t want the same opportunity denied any U.S. athlete.

Now five years later, I couldn’t imagine supporting a boycott of the Sochi Olympics that would deny any fellow athletes the opportunity to do what I did then: to compete against the world’s best, to fulfill the dream of a lifetime, to set an example for the world, to make our friends, families, and country proud of our accomplishments. I also couldn’t imagine telling an athlete not to boycott if that’s what he or she thinks is best.

But here’s what I would do if I could. I’d go. I’d make no secret of the fact I’m gay and I’d take every opportunity to let people know the truth about my life, which I’ve done since I came out this past February. And if I were a straight athlete, I’d go and take every opportunity to let people know that I support the rights of all people to live free from the threat of discrimination. After all, isn’t freedom an Olympic ideal?

Rogers also said he would encourage IOC to allow athletes at Sochi to express their support for gay athletes be wearing the rainbow flag, simultaneously showing “solidarity for gay Russians who are now living under the threat of arrest by a repressive regime.”

  1. Daniel - Aug 14, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Reblogged this on Life of a Sports Addict.

  2. reformed2012 - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Also bt 2022 world cup. Time for the LGBT community to stand up and make their voice heard worldwide. Help their gay brothers and lesbian sisters to freedom. Help defeat a carcinogenic anti-gay religion (a mental disorder) that is dominating the middle east and eastern Europe, and stop their spread to Asia, America and Western Europe. LGBT pride worldwide!

  3. mvktr2 - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Nationalism begat pride, pride begat distrust, distrust begat hatred, hatred begat violence and war.

    I’ll be so glad when humanity wises up to the reality that lines drawn on maps by men claiming divine rights and unearned powers are no reason for man to be divided against man. Cultural pride is one thing, it’s why I follow the USMNT, because I want to see soccer rise in cultural significance here … not because it swells the heart with pride for the stars and bars. One day humanity will arise at a time when individuals govern their own lives independent of centralized governmental entities, then humanity will be free.

    • geojock - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      I govern my own life more than 95% of the people on this rock. For that, my heart swells with pride for the stars and bars.

      • mikeevergreen - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:28 PM

        Stars and STRIPES, geojock. STRIPES. Stars and bars forcibly governed, or shall I say RULED over every black man, woman, and child that lived in it.

      • geojock - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        @mikeevergreen Agreed. I was playing off the above.

  4. sa371916 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t “mak(ing) no secret of the fact (he’s) gay and(taking) every opportunity to let people know the truth about (his) life” illegal and imprisonable in Russia. The latter of which is the most concerning part, and why a boycott may be the only way. Otherwise only LGBTQ athletes would by denied the opportunity to compete in the Olympics and represent his/her country.

    • mikeevergreen - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      You are correct, and the head of Russia’s national police agency said that gay athletes are arrestable under Russian law. Seems to be a shame that anything would be held over from Communism in that country, but this was.

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