Robbie Rogers is an openly gay professional soccer player who plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Jurgen Klinsmann is the coach of the US national soccer team. They know each other. The LA soccer blog LAGConfidential writes to criticize Klinsmann for not publicly celebrating Rogers’s coming out:
Putting soccer aside, this is the story about Robbie Rogers as a human being. A human being who, after going through such a life altering experience as coming out publicly, sought the support of a trusted mentor. First waiting to hear from him directly. Then, as the book lays out, taking the trouble to reach out to him through email, not once, but twice. And Jurgen never responded. [From Rogers’s memoir:]
“I think he and I need to have that conversation: a life conversation, if he’s interested. I think it’s more important to me than playing on the national team.”
And it’s those last bits that are most striking: “if he’s interested,” “more important to me than playing on the national team.” This relationship is clearly about more than soccer, and from Robbie’s perspective, it’s entirely unclear why someone whose opinion he values so much, has suddenly disappeared from his life now that he’s come out.
Of course, without Jurgen’s side of the story, it would be unfair to make assumptions about his reasons for giving Robbie the cold shoulder, or to even assume that Robbie’s side of the story is completely accurate. I am not writing this to make allegations that Jurgen is homophobic, however, the unfortunate reality is, from a PR standpoint, that’s the narrative some fans will see unless this issue is addressed.
And for a federation that is supposed to represent all Americans, that’s completely unacceptable.
Emotional blackmail. Klinsmann’s silence is being held against him here. Maybe he does not approve of homosexuality. Maybe he just has more important things to worry about. Doesn’t matter. His silence will be held against him. Klinsmann has not publicly declared himself to be an Ally™, therefore he must be an Enemy until proven otherwise.
The reader who sent this says:
It’s chilling, and sort of reminds me of the same tone of those “are you an ally?” workplace surveys. In a few short years it’s become completely unsavory not just to hold on to the notion that same-sex acts are not exactly worthy of celebration, but also to refrain from saying anything positive — even if, in your heart of hearts, you *believe* in the rightness of it.
Yes, Jurgen Klinsmann must be guilty of wrongthink until proven innocent.