Major League Soccer player, Collin Martin, has come out ahead of Pride celebrations, making him the only openly gay athlete currently playing in a major US sports league.
The Minnesota United midfielder made the announcement on social media yesterday (June 29).
Martin posted on Twitter ahead of a ‘Pride night’ as his team geared up to play a home match against Dallas.
Tonight my team, @MNUFC , is having their Pride night. It's an important night for me — I'll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. #soccerforall pic.twitter.com/cOJQXfrBiv
— Collin Martin (@martcw12) June 29, 2018
The 23-year-old wrote:
Tonight my team, @MNUFC, is having their Pride night. It’s an important night for me — I’ll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer.
Posting a message, he revealed he’d been out to friends, family and teammates for ‘years’ and has ‘received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer’.
I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates. I have played Major League Soccer for six years: Four seasons with DC United and two seasons with Minnesota United.
Today I am proud that my entire team and management of Minnesota United know that I am gay.
I have received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer and that has made the decision to come out publicly that much easier.
As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am.
In light of my experience as a professional athlete, I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have the confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly.
June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man.
Martin was met with praise from fans around the world in response to his posts.
One person wrote:
Hello Collin, I’m a gay guy from Rome that loves football and support Rome as a team, I would like to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU from all the gays in the world for what you did!
To me is a big step forward to make a change! You had showed to all of us that can be possible to make a change!
You have all my respect and gratitude! [sic].
Hi Collin! Greetings from Germany..Greatest respect for your statement..Too bad that you still have to come out in 2018..Should be really ‘normal’ by now..Hope your step is the right step to motivate other athletes to live openly..For you only the best!!! [sic].
And somebody else wrote:
I really hope this inspires others to come out too. Thank you for bringing the world just a little closer together, and don’t listen to those with small minds. Love from England. [sic]
In 2013, Robbie Rogers came out as gay following his release from Leeds United, he went on to play for LA Galaxy in the MLS, and retired last year.
Rogers tweeted in response to Martin’s statement, saying:
Love this! So so inspiring thank you Colin! Good luck this season, except against the @LAGalaxy.’ [sic]
— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) June 29, 2018
Gareth Thomas, a Welsh rugby player famously came out in 2009, making him the first openly gay professional rugby union player.
He appeared on the Ellen show to talk about his experience.
Watch a clip here:
Happy Pride, everybody!
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