By Ken Reed

Dave Zirin is an activist sportswriter. In other words, he looks beyond the playing fields to economic and social justice issues in the world of sports. I don’t always agree with his takes (although the vast majority of the time I do), but I couldn’t agree more with his selection for 2013 Sportsperson of the Year.

In considering his Sportsperson of the Year, Zirin asked himself “who best represents what I believe to be the most important narrative in the sports world from 2013?”

His answer was right on the money.

“The story of the year in sports is, for me, a no-brainer. This has been the year when the ‘last closet’ has been breeched with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes, as well as their allies, finally being heard. The story that best demonstrates the distance traveled in 2013 is the story of Robbie Rogers, and he is my Sportsperson of the Year.”

Rogers is a pro soccer player who came out of the closet and then abruptly retired at age 25. He didn’t want to deal with the “circus.” Then, inspired by the courage of basketball’s Jason Collins, Rogers signed a contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy and became the first active openly gay male athlete in a professional team sport in North America.

Today, Rogers doesn’t know why he was so afraid to continue his playing career, but he’s glad he came back to the game.

Rogers said, “It’s awesome to be part of a movement that is changing society.”

And it’s awesome that 2013 saw so much progress for LGBT athletes.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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