So a footballer has finally come out. The same player immediately retired (or, at least, is taking a break from football). The world and his dog has read former the Leeds United and United States player Robbie Rogers' blogpost. Most, happily, have said sensible things.
It is easy to lambast footballers and their behaviour but the way footballers, and the overwhelming majority of fans, reacted showed once again that the majority of the footballing community are decent souls.
Many of Rogers' USA team-mates tweeted their support. Jay DeMerit, Juan Agudelo, Sacha Kljestan, Eddie Pope, Kasey Keller, Carlos Bocanegra, Stuart Holden, and Oguchi Onyewu all did. They were joined in the UK (amongst others) by Kei Kamara, Robert Snodgrass, Ross McCormack, Joey Barton, and Clark Carlisle. The overwhelming majority of football journalists tweeted similar sentiments. This is a welcome and refreshing change from the occasionally wicked comments from players and managers.
It may well be that the biggest shift in Rogers' coming out is that so many reacted so positively. The next gay player to come out will know that he is likely to be supported. They will know that, rather than what we all feared, that the footballing world will actually be enormously supportive.
Many will claim ''it doesn't matter''. They are right, to an extent, but they misunderstand. I agree that whether a player is homosexual shouldn't matter. For now, however, it does - if it didn't, we wouldn't all be commenting upon Rogers' decision to come out. Nobody would have tweeted support for Rogers because nobody would have cared.
One thing that is being left unsaid is that there is a level of disappointment with Rogers. This is unfair. Many acknowledge that this is a big moment in football. They also acknowledge that this would move from big to seismic if Rogers had come out and continued to play. They also acknowledge that whilst he will become a hero for the gay rights movement in all sports that they want him to become a figurehead of that movement.
Many want him to be the man who continues to play on, at a high-level, whilst all in the ground know he is gay. They hope that he will return to football. They are - although none will say it in these terms - disappointed he has decided not to be that standard bearer for gay rights. For years they have wanted a gay player, now have one, but he seems to have retired aged 25.
Maybe Robbie Rogers just wants to live his life. Maybe he doesn't want to be the figurehead of a movement. Maybe he doesn't want every post-match interview for ever more to focus on his sexuality. Maybe he knows that whilst most have been hugely positive about his bravery that he would put up with vile chants in due course. Yes, he's gay. Yes, he's openly gay. He doesn't need to lead a civil rights movement just because he's shown the immense courage to come out.
Rogers has just started a job writing for Men's Health and has other business interests. To those of us who would have crawled over broken glass to be a professional footballer it seems a shame to walk away from the game for any reason. Rogers, however, has every right to walk away and walk away for whatever reason - it may be because of his homosexuality or, heaven forbid, it might be because he has enjoyed football but realises he enjoys writing more.
Rogers has brought attention to homosexuality in football. He has got many big-name individuals in his home nation speaking positively, supportively and progressively about homosexuality in the game. That is rather more than most players will ever do for the good of the game and is more than enough. He doesn't want to be, or need to be, a standard bearer. He just wants to be Robbie Rogers. And that, my friends, is how life should be.
PS - I've written about homosexuality in sport on a number of occasions (linked to from here).