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Professional football player Collin Martin comes out as gay during pride month
by Eve Hartley  

A professional football player has announced he’s gay, prior to a pride night being held by his football team.
Collin Martin, who plays for Minnesota United in the MLS, is now the only out gay football player in a top professional soccer league.
Martin wrote a statement on his Twitter account and said: “June is Pride month, and I am proud
to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man.”

The 23-year-old said his friends, family and teammates were already aware of his sexuality.
“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 the entire team and management of Minnesota
United know that I’m gay.”

“As we celebrate Pride night I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional
support for who I am. In light of who I am I want to encourage others who play
sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome
them wholeheartedly,” Martin added.

Minnesota United is an American professional soccer team based in the
Minneapolis-Saint Paul area in the United States.

The team shared images of support for Martin on its Twitter account, using
the hashtag #SoccerForAll.

Martin follows in the footsteps of Robbie Rogers, who came out in 2013
after being released by Leeds United. Rogers went on to become the first
openly gay professional footballer when he signed for LA Galaxy. Rogers
retired in 2017 after winning two MLS cups and 18 caps for the US men’s
national team.

Martin’s statement comes as attention is on the World Cup. The
competition, which is being held in Russia, has been criticised for being
held in an anti-LGBT country.

LGBT people in Russia are worried that the relaxed policing towards the
community will end after the World Cup is over.

The head of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, Aleksandr Agapov
said authorities have been relaxed in applying the country’s “gay
propaganda” laws during the tournament, according to the Press
Association.

Football fans, including England spectators, have been able to bring
pride rainbow flags into stadiums so far – which was promised before
the tournament by Fifa and the Russian football association


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