In his six appearances during the 2018 Major League Soccer season, Minnesota United's Collin Martin has registered one assist.
As of Friday morning, he deserves credit for way more than that; by coming out as a gay professional athlete, the only active one in American sports, Martin's "assist" numbers are running into the millions.
Martin made the announcement via a tweet saying he'd timed his announcement to the team's "Pride night" celebration at TCF Bank Stadium. Though he says he's been "out as a gay man for many years" to people who know him personally, Martin, 23, has played six seasons in MLS (four with D.C. United, two with MN United) without going public with his sexuality.
"I have received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League soccer," Martin writes, "and that has made the decision to come out publicly that much easier."
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
Martin becomes just the second active MLS player to compete while out as a gay man. Former player David Testo came out shortly after retiring in 2011. Robbie Rogers, another American, pulled a similar move in 2013, then came out of retirement to play several more years for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
In a 2016 appearance on Chelsea Handler's Netflix talk show, Rogers observed that his announcement was met with "so much energy and positivity" -- followed by deafening silence.
"It's been four years, four seasons, and there's not another gay soccer player," Rogers said, adding: "It will change eventually, y'know, our world's changing, the United States is changing."
Let's hope that's right; if it is, Collin Martin just did his very big part in making things a little better.
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