Last Updated 20 Mar 2021

Columnist Analysis: Mitch Albom

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Robbie Rogers is a talented 25 year-old soccer player from southern California. He won the NCAA championship and has played on the U. S. national soccer team. Needless to say, soccer was his life and he was very successful.

On February 5th, 2013 he came out to the public that he was gay. Almost immediately after he shared this news, he retired to discover himself away from soccer. He gained much support from fans, media and teammates, but none were able to convince him to keep playing soccer. Mitch Albom discusses this news in his column and the gives hope of a male professional sports player that is brave enough to admit to being gay, and stay to play the game for a change.  Alboms Audience would be those who are interested in the news of soccer and other professional sports leagues.

He is also targeting men who are in those professional sports leagues and are gay, to be the first to admit to it publicly and continue to play.  The author takes on the persona of a person who supports the gays and has hope for them to be able to be open about their sexual orientation. The purpose of this column is to convince future and current gay professional athletes to publicly state their sexual orientation and not let fear or the judgment of others convince them to step away from their dreams.

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Albom argues that instead of being scared to be open about being gay, these professional athletes should overcome that fear and be a role model for others who want to be a professional athlete but are afraid that being themselves will get in the way of achieving their dreams. Rhetorical Devices: Albom starts this column with creating a picture of a young and very successful soccer player named Robbie. He does this by describing how young he is and how many major teams he has been on and major championships he has won.

By creating this image for the audience it makes it more shocking that he threw all of that success away because he thought people would judge him after he openly admitted that he was gay. This is an appeal to pathos because the audience will sympathize with the story of a successful athlete pushed out of his sport from fear of what society would think of him. When he is describing how Rogers left his career he uses short chopped up sentences. By doing this he is showing how abrupt the decision was through sentence structure rather than verbally stating that his notice of leaving the sport was out of nowhere.

This way the audience understands, visually, how shocking it was. Albom also uses direct quotes from Roger’s blog that exhibit how vulnerable and desperate he was. The quotes he uses include words like “fear”, “judgment” and “rejection” that have a negative connotation. These quotes appeal to pathos and make the audience sympathize with the soccer player that felt there was no other way to deal with this than to retire because he was so afraid of being treated differently. It makes his target, gay professional athletes, want to be the first to come out publicly and stay to play so that a situation like Roger’s doesn’t have to happen again.

At the beginning and end of the column Albom describes the first man to be a publicly gay professional athlete. He describes him as “A brave man, a confident ma”, using positive adjectives that make this man seem admirable. This shows the audience that being openly gay and a person of higher power is a very respectable thing to be, not something that people show look down upon. This further convinces the audience to want to be honest with who they are. He also includes quotes from a 49ers football player, Chris Culliver, who as not afraid to show his homophobic side. The answers used from an interview that asked his opinion on if he had a teammate that was gay teammate were very bold and hateful. By using these quotes it is another appeal to pathos and is supposed to make the audience angry that someone would be so rude to someone over the sex that they are attracted to. it also makes the audience want more people to stand up for gay people and make society more accepting towards them. And ultimately that will start when the first male professional athlete publicly admits to being gay.

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