Searching for one chanting, cheering example that the world is a more tolerant place?
Look no further than the North End of Jeld-Wen Field this season, says HuffPost writer Steve Clare, who highlights Portland's own Timbers Army as just the sort of crowd that would accept an out athlete in professional team sports. Clare's Monday piece is an open letter of sorts to former US National Team star Robbie Rogers, who simultaneously came out and retired from professional soccer earlier this month. Clare hopes the 25-year-old Rogers returns to the game, confident that fans will focus more about his on-pitch play than off-field life. And he cites Portland's supporters as a group who'd be, well, supportive. One case in point? The rainbow flag that hangs from Sunday White's capo stand, which sports more colors than green and white.
"I am an out and proud lesbian in a committed relationship," White told Clare. "I bring that flag to every match because this is my home and I am proud of my community, family and support. I have only had positive responses from team, the town and the Timbers Army. If there are negative responses I would like to hear them. When there are negative comments on social media I am very active at educating that it is unacceptable."
It goes beyond social media. As Timbers Army's Andrew Brawley reminds
n00bs new fans who venture into the North End this season, there are rules for properly backing your team. The first?
Nothing racist/homophobic/sexist/etc. should come out of your mouth, fingers, whatever. We do not tolerate this AT ALL! The best way to not say anything racist/homophobic/sexist/etc. is to not be a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. You will get tossed, and you won’t be welcome back. Ever.
The Timbers kick off their third MLS season against New York at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.