LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Teammates and fans alike cheered on Robbie Rogers — the first openly gay man in professional soccer — as he stepped out onto the field for the LA Galaxy Sunday night..
KCAL9′s Brittney Hopper spoke to some of the 25,000 fans in attendance and some of Rogers’ new team to gauge their reaction.
His teammate Todd Dunivant, 32, told Hopper he hopes Rogers’ move opens the door for other gay players. “It’s not an easy thing to do otherwise it would have been done already. And the fact that he has the courage to do this — and to step through that door – is such a big deal.”
Rogers, 26, has said he kept his sexuality a secret because he thought he couldn’t be both a soccer player and a gay athlete.
But many of LA Galaxy hard core fans say its not about his sexual orientation. Said one fan, “Honestly, I mean it doesn’t matter to me as long as he’s performing on the pitch. That’s all that matters to me.”
Said another, “It really doesn’t matter. We just want a player that’s as good or better than Mike Magee.” The Galaxy traded fan fave Mike Magee (the team’s leading scorer this season) to the Chicago Fire to get Rogers.
In February, Rogers retired from soccer and then revealed he was gay, the same day, in a blogpost.
Three months later the Galaxy singed him to a 3-year deal.
He spoke to the media Saturday. “I was afraid to put myself back into a situation where I felt outcast but through this process I realize everyone is a bit different,” he said.