Chris Seitz, A.J. DeLaGarza, and Omar Gonzalez have joined the Athlete Ally program, aimed at encouraging and welcoming LGBT participation in sports.Read more
Grant Wahl conducted a survey of MLS players and found that an overwhelming majority said a gay soccer player would be accepted in their locker room.Read more
One of the assumed big fears for a male pro coming out of the closet is the loss of endorsement deals, and it looks like Nike is looking to allay that worry.
According to a recent interview, when pro basketball executive Rick Welts came out of the closet two years ago Nike sent him a message to pass along to closeted players. They want the first out player in American professional sports to be an endorser.
Nike has done pro-LGBT work in the past, releasing pride t-shirts, holding a summit, and even doing a giveaway with Megan Rapinoe last year on behalf of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
Now Welts has said, “They made it clear to me Nike would embrace it. The player who does it, they’re going to be amazed at the additional opportunities that are put on the table, not the ones that are taken off.”
Nike is Robbie Rogers’ boot of choice. Just sayin’.
The Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee has suspended San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon three games for his use of a gay slur Sunday night in the Quakes’ match against the Portland Timbers.
This is in addition to an automatic one-game suspension for being ejected from the game after receiving a second yellow card after elbowing Timbers player Mikael Silvestre.
Alan Gordon will also be fined an undisclosed amount and attend diversity training beyond that which is part of the standard preseason training.
Said Commissioner Don Garber:
Major League Soccer stands against discrimination and prejudice of any kind and will not tolerate this type of behavior. All of our players, staff and fans must remain committed to respect and dignity at all times.
It’s commendable to see the League act so quickly and maintain the same zero tolerance policy and repercussions set last season. Beyond the League-mandated punishment it would be great to see Gordon go above and beyond what is demanded and use this time to reach out to his local LGBT community, much like Marc Burch did during the off-season.
Our writer in Boston Adam posted this to Facebook last night. I share it here with his permission.
There’s a certain sobriety in Boston tonight. This city that more than two hundred years ago shed blood, sweat and tears to establish a way of life, today shed blood, sweat and tears as that way of life was assaulted.
But we call today Patriots Day in honor of those who fought for us once, and we will call it Patriots Day forever in honor of those who worked to protect and rescue us in an hour of crisis.
On this day and in this place, men and women have fought and died and lived to protect this idea of Boston. And my heart breaks for each and every one of them.
I live in this magnificent city, the Hub of the Universe, the City on a Hill. No madman can take that away from me. And certainly not on Patriots Day.
Robbie Rogers will be giving his first television interviews since coming out two months ago tonight, on Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN and Nightline on ABC.
Nightline has this blog post about the interview and has put out this teaser video:
They say, “Rogers is considering a return to soccer in the United States, which would make him the first and only openly gay player in any professional men’s team sport.”
Anderson Cooper, for his part, Tweeted:
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) April 15, 2013
We’ll be live tweeting both interviews tonight, with Anderson Cooper 360 airing at 8 PM ET on CNN and Nightline airing at 12:35 AM ET on ABC.
Soccer overwhelmingly becomes the most well-represented sport in the Athlete Ally Ambassador program.
A dozen members of the NASL team Minnesota United FC as well as their head coach and assistant coach have all joined the Athlete Ally Ambassador program.
With the twelve Minnesota players joining Major League Soccer’s Chris Seitz, AJ DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, and Stephen McCarthy, 16 of the 30 athletes in the Ambassador program come from professional soccer, making it by far the number one sport represented.
Minnesota United’s president Nick Rogers (no relation) recently joined the board of Athlete Ally. Founder Hudson Taylor said this of the new additions to the program:
Nick activating 12 of his players in less than a week of joining the advisory board is incredibly impressive. All of these young men have fans of their own, are world-class athletes, and are catalysts for progress among the international soccer community.
Forward Alan Gordon clearly used a gay slur in the 60th minute of last night’s MLS match between his San Jose Earthquakes and the Portland Timbers.
The look on Gordon’s face immediately afterward showed a keen awareness of what he had just said, and his apparent target Will Johnson flashed him the number three as a sign of the now-standard three-game suspension that was issued to Colin Clark and Marc Burch last year. (Incidentally, while with Salt Lake Johnson was also who Burch directed the same insult toward.)
Deadspin captured the video and slowed down the moment in question.
Following the match Alan Gordon issued a statement via the Earthquakes’ website:
I sincerely apologize for what I said in our game tonight. Although I said it in the heat of the moment, that language has no place in our game. That is not my character, but there is still no excuse for saying what I said. I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility for my actions.
Beyond the expected suspension for this incident, Alan Gordon also has an automatic one game suspension as he was ejected from the game for a second yellow card for elbowing Portland’s Mikael Silvestre. It will also be interesting to see if Gordon does anything beyond any suspension handed down by the Disciplinary Committee, much like Marc Burch did in Seattle over the off season.
Will Johnson scored the lone goal of the game, a beautiful free kick leading to the Portland Timbers’ 1-0 win.
Last week I gave thoughts on Robbie Rogers’ coming out and his interviews since then, and one of my takeaways was that it’s time to double down efforts to make soccer a better atmosphere for a player to be ready to come out. Part of this is to ask if you are a soccer fan and an LGBT ally.
We list players, media personalities, and supporters groups on the site, but haven’t yet had a place for fans to voice their ally-ship. Now we do.
You can use the form below or at this page to show your support of the pledge that appears at our Allies Page. You can also direct friends who want to take the pledge to that page (gay4soccer.com/allies) where we link to the form.
A little less than a year ago, I asked my friend Prairie (one of the first Soccer Allies, for the record) if she could help me come up with an idea for a Pride-esque flag I could wear to Revs games. She’s got lots of experience in designing and painting tifo for New England and for the national teams, so I thought she might have a concept in mind.
What we came up with was this:
I’ve come to call it the New England Pride Flag. It’s an amalgam of two flags; the traditional gay pride flag you see throughout June, and the old-school Flag of New England.
I like to think it stands in a subtle contrast to the pride flags you may see elsewhere in the league. It pretty obviously reflects the LGBT pride that we’ve got up here in New England, but it also stands up as a subtle “this is who we are, who the hell are you?” flag.
This is us. New England has Pride; what have you got going on?
So that’s my challenge – show us your pride, and show us a way that your pride can stand out.
That day was momentous for me. Yes, other players, both men and women, have come out in the past few years. Hysen, Testo, Rapinoe, Lindsey. I’ve rooted against Testo and I’ve rooted for Rapinoe. But Robbie Rogers was just different somehow for me, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Maybe it’s because I cheered him on from the supporters section at the 2009 Gold Cup. Maybe it’s because I cheered him on from my local American Outlaws bar when he scored against Mexico in 2011. Maybe it’s because as a recent Major League Soccer player I watched him play week after week on MLS Live.
Maybe it’s because he’s just so darned cute. I don’t know. But I was moved and dumbstruck reading his blog post over and over that day last month. And I cried more than once.
While the issue of marriage equality is being argued within the Supreme Court this week (and for many weeks to come), the issue has rested in our everyday lives for years. Recently, groups such as NOH8, You Can Play, Athlete Ally, and the Human Rights Campaign have brought marriage equality, fair play in sport, and general respect for the LGBT communities to the forefront in the media, social networks, local campaigns, and across any platform where their words will be heard.
Unfortunately, our world revolves around taking a side in every discussion, argument, and issue which arises on a daily basis. Whether it’s marriage, race, or gender equality, animal rights, abortion, etc, people are forced to pick a side…but, why? Why does everything have to be “my side or your side?” People shouldn’t have to live their lives knowing there are “two sides to every story.” In reality, there are billions of sides to every story. Every person on planet earth has their own thoughts, beliefs, and “side” to every story, as long as they choose to take a stand.
By taking a stand for what you believe, you’re not taking a side. You’re standing up for your own beliefs, feelings, opinions, and thoughts. Your stand may, or may not, place you on one side, but that does mean you’re forced to defend that side. You’re only forced to defend your stand.
The laws of the federal government and states within the union will have the final say whether or not marriage will become legally equal among all genders. No matter the outcome, those laws shouldn’t affect and change your stand. According to the artist Macklemore, “No law is going to change us. We have to change us.” With that being said, I choose to take my stand for equality with more words from Macklemore, “No freedom ‘til we’re equal. Damn right I support it.”