Gay football player Collin Martin gets standing ovation at first game after coming out
An American football player who came out just last week received a standing ovation from the crowd on Wednesday night when he played his first game since revealing his sexuality.
Collin Martin, 23, who came out publicly last week on Twitter, joined the game in the 79th minute. Some members of the crowd waved rainbow scarves as he ran onto the pitch for Minnesota United FC’s game against Toronto.
His teammates also showed their support for the player, with some running over to him to greet him with hugs and high-fives when the game ended.
However, Rogers and Collins are no longer active, which sets Martin apart as the only one who is openly gay and actively playing.
The huge show of support from fans and teammates comes after Martin made history by coming out publicly on Twitter last Friday. His tweet came just hours before the team’s Pride night game.
In his statement, he said he has “received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer and that has made the decision to come out publicly that much easier.”
He went on to thank his teammates for their “unconditional support,” and expressed hope that others who play professionally might have the confidence to come out.
He finished his statement by saying he is “proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man.”
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Martin has been openly gay with his family and friends – including his teammates – for many years, however, last week marked the first time the 23-year-old made his sexuality public.
His decision to come out had a huge impact on one fan. Speaking to Reuters last week, he said: “A kid messaged me saying he was at [last Friday’s] game after seeing my tweet, and during the game he came out to his parents because of that tweet. That was pretty crazy. He said it went well, which is great.”
The swell of support comes after some fans were left disappointed last Friday when Martin didn’t play during the team’s Pride night game, which took place only hours after he publicly came out.
Martin has been in Major League Soccer for six seasons and has been playing with Minnesota United for the last two.