Collin Martin publicly came out this past summer, but for those living in the Washington, DC area, it was hardly news. When he played for D.C. United, he was often seen at Nellie’s Sports Bar, a popular watering hole in the gaybourhood. “For a lot of people, this is not a big surprise,” Martin told Outsports.
The 24-year-old soccer player, who now plays for Minnesota United, graces the cover of Gay Times magazine to discuss how he feels after finally taking a leap of faith and his thoughts on how sports can become a more inclusive environment with Robbie Rogers. Martin is currently the only active openly gay athlete in MLS.
“One of the cool things about soccer is that it’s such a multi-cultural sport so you’re going to have people that have different religions, different backgrounds, completely different educational experiences growing up, and so you have to take that with a grain of salt. Within each locker room that I’ve been in, there was certain guys that might have been further behind in terms of acceptance than others, but for the most part, I think even when there were some misunderstandings, there was always respect.”
Check out more quotes and pictures from the issue below.
On Fears Of Coming Out
“It took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of coming out even though my teammates have always been very supportive. I feel, and I have had amazing friendships in general, but it took me a while to then trust them with letting them know I was gay, and having that courage to not only be open with them but open to the rest of the league. I remember when Michael Sam was coming out, we had ESPN on the TV after training and I remember a bunch of guys being like, ‘Why do we have to have him on the TV? Like, what has he done? We don’t need to see that’. Certain stuff like that kind of upset me and took me back for a while because I guess people don’t want to hear these things. I knew those comments weren’t super thoughtful and they didn’t mean that completely, it was just something they might have felt at the moment. So it took me a while, but my teammates have been really honest and completely supportive. I
gave my Minnesota teammates the chance to open up to me and receive me, and I’ve had no negative experiences, so from there I was able to come out publicly.”
On Inclusivity For LGBTQ Athletes
“I think Pride nights are huge. I know that if I had gay friends come to the games in Minnesota, the ‘Don’t Cross The Line’ initiative they did and having the biggest stars on each team talk about how homophobia is not to be accepted and racism is not to be accepted, those videos they play before the game I think go a long way for the casual fans. Like, ‘Woah, they’re really talking about those things and putting that out there.’ I think those two things are awesome. I don’t think they maybe have those initiatives in other leagues – I’m not quite sure. I haven’t been to a game over in Europe for maybe two or three years now. Even this past week, they’re doing the Rainbow Laces campaign in the Premier League and I saw Arsenal’s Twitter bio had the rainbow flag and they were showing support.”
For more, head over to GayTimes.co.uk.