“Soccer is a sport for everyone, and Athlete Ally does a great job of proving that,” former U.S. Men’s National Team player and Atlanta Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda added. “I’m all for supporting this cause, and I’m glad our organization is taking a stand.”
Gay athletes and LGBT acceptance in sports have been hot topics recently. NBA player Jason Collins recently came out of the closet and women’s professional basketball player Brittney Griner came out after her selection as the number one overall pick in this year’s WNBA draft.
Perhaps the biggest gay athlete story of the year belongs to Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers.
In April, Rogers came out as a gay man and announced his retirement from professional soccer. The former U.S. Men’s National Team player was then invited to a training session with the Galaxy and in May, a trade was finalized between his old club, Columbus Crew, and the Galaxy. Rogers has since made his first professional appearance as an out player.
Rogers is also a member of Athlete Ally’s advisory board.
“What Robbie Rogers did was very brave, but nobody in professional sports, or anywhere for that matter, should have to fear acceptance based on their sexuality,” Smith said. “I hope this opens the door for others after seeing the unbelievable support that he has received since his announcement.”
The Atlanta Braves also have a LGBT fan night this month, on June 18, that will benefit the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation.
Top photo: The Atlanta Silverbacks share a huddle (publicity photo)