16
Oct

ABC buys sitcom ‘Men in Shorts’ based on Robbie Rogers’ life

imageIt’s not often that retiring from professional soccer at the age of 25, and then un-retiring a few months later, is the stuff of TV comedies.

But Robbie Rogers made some headlines in his brief retirement and return to the game at the LA Galaxy. He became the first openly gay man to play in a professional sports league in the United States.

So now TV network ABC is taking Rogers’ experience and turning it into a comedy called “Men in Shorts.”

The show is, not surprisingly, about a young professional soccer player who comes out of the closet and will follow how his teammates, family and friends interact with him after his coming out.

Rogers, since his coming out, has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in sports. He also has a book entitled “Coming Out to Play” being released November 25.

Rogers who recently started his own fashion blog and has his own menswear label is attached to the TV show as a producer.

5
Sep

Arsenal steps up to support #RainbowLaces initiative with hilarious video

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In partnership with Paddy Power and Stonewall, a gay rights charity, Arsenal have stepped up to help “kick homophobia out of football” with the #RainbowLaces campaign. Everton were the first EPL team to join the cause, and hopefully more sides will throw their support behind it.

With hopes of raising awareness of the issues surrounding homophobia in football, Arsenal teamed up with Paddy Power and Stonewall to produce a short video that is as funny as it is effective.

Gunners stars Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla all feature in the clip. And just to give you a little taste of what’s in store, here’s what the PP blog had to say from behind the scenes of the taping:

The director, Jim Gilchrist, asked Olivier Giroud to take inspiration for his line from a certain Hollywood blockbuster.

“What is Zoolander? I do not know Zoolander,” came the bewildered reply from the 27-year-old Chambery-born striker.

“Should I just act more French?”

We don’t want to spoil any more of the punchlines, so just give the video a watch.

Players are being urged to to show their support by lacing up with rainbow laces over the Sept. 13-14, or Rainbow Lace weekend.

And remember … COWABUNGA!

(h/t Reddit, Image: Getty)

8
Jan

Thomas Hitzlsperger becomes highest-profile footballer to reveal he’s gay

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Former Premier League midfielder and Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger has revealed he’s gay in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit.

Hitzlsperger, who spent most of his career at Aston Villa and Stuttgart, is the first former Premier League player and first German footballer to do so. He retired this past September after featuring for Everton in seven games last season.

Talking to Die Zeit, Hitzlsperger said he felt the timing of the announcement was right:

"I’m revealing my homosexuality because I want to promote the discussion of homosexuality among professional athletes.

I think it is a good moment for it. With the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, I think we need more critical voices against campaigns of regimes who don’t tolerate homosexuals.”

The 31-year-old’s reveal comes almost a year after American midfielder Robbie Rogers’ announcement before immediately retiring. (Rogers would later change his mind and join the LA Galaxy, becoming the first openly gay player on an American professional team). On record, he is the fourth professional footballer to “come out”

"It has been a long and difficult process [of becoming aware of being gay]. Only in recent years has it dawned on me that I would prefer to live with another man," Hitzlsperger said, who broke off a relationship in 2007 with his longtime girlfriend, one month before their wedding.

Read More

18
Sep

Everton players sport rainbow laces in support of gay rights

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Image: EvertonFC.com

Everton FC has become the first Premier League club to embrace a new campaign to kick homophobia out of soccer by sporting rainbow-colored laces, according to the Daily Mail.

Gay rights charity Stonewall and bookmakers Paddy Power joined forces to launch the “Right Behind Gay Footballers” campaign, and have sent out 5,000 sets of the laces to all professional clubs in England, Scotland and Wales.
 
Everton captain Phil Jagielka and many of his teammates have embraced the idea and will be wearing the new laces for this weekend’s Premier League fixture against West Ham United.

Jagielka told the club’s official website:

For me and the rest of the lads at Everton a player’s sexuality is not important, but their ability on the pitch is.No one should feel that they can’t be themselves – on or off the pitch – so that is why we are supporting this initiative.

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Image: EvertonFC.com

The Premier League has left it up to clubs and individuals to decide if they want to back the campaign or not, and have expressed disappointment that they were not approached by the campaign directly.

A Premier League spokesman said:

The underlying message behind this campaign is a good one, indeed we and our clubs have worked hard with government and other stakeholders to ensure the whole equalities agenda is something we fully are aware of and engaged in.

However, we were not consulted about this particular campaign. Had we been involved earlier in the process we could have worked with Stonewall to consider things like boot deals, the use of particular betting partners, and other issues.

There are currently no active openly gay players in the United Kingdom.
21
Jun

Robbie Rogers tours LGBT Youth Center

Ever since Robbie Rogers’ much discussed return to Major League Soccer, he has sought out to become a leader and a role model for the LGBT community.

The LA Galaxy midfielder recently toured the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian center, meeting with the CEO to share his story and lend a helping hand. He was also able to answer questions from some of the youth at the center, many of whom were former athletes themselves.

In case you were wondering about his current relationship status:

15
Feb

Robbie Rogers comes out as gay, announces retirement

Former Columbus Crew and United States midfielder Robbie Rogers has come out as gay and announced his retirement effective immediately.

The 25-year-old American, who played for Leeds United and left League One side Stevenage last month, wrote on his blog that he had been afraid of revealing his sexuality - but that he is now leaving football.

Read more here.

1
Nov

Check out this well-thought of commercial from the Dutch federation promoting the acceptance of gay footballers, by also helping combat homophobia from the beautiful game. We couldn’t have said the message better ourselves.

Here’s the official mission statement from KNVB.

Big ups Dutch football!