Football may be the talk of the season right now due to the World Cup but as the event is being held in Russia, it’s proving that much in the way of the sport’s well-recognised homophobia will go untackled as LGBTQ+ fans admitted to fearing homophobia and other abuse if they were to attend any of the official games.
However, Collin Martin, a midfielder for Minnesota United, officially announced over the weekend that he identifies as a gay man in a move that will make him the only open gay footballer play to be currently playing professionally.
On his Twitter page, Martin told his followers that a recent Pride event at Minnesota United encouraged him to make the announcement, saying: “It’s an important night for me — I’ll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer.
His full message read as follows:
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 6 seasons: 4 seasons with DC United and 2 seasons with Minnesota United. Today, I’m proud that my entire team and the 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 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.
Following the announcement and the support Martin received, he added that he was “confident that I made the right choice.”
I’m truly overwhelmed by the messages and support I’ve received thus far. I wish I could respond to each and every one of you. Please know your words mean a lot to me and they make me confident that I made the right choice.
— Collin Martin (@martcw12) July 1, 2018
It is hoped the move will show people that being gay in football can be accepted by fans and within the sport, and gives Collin Martin the opportunity to be an inspirational role model for young LGBTQ+ fans who enjoy the great game.