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Last week, Collin Martin became the first out professional sports player in the United States when he came out of the closet hours before his team the Minnesota United played their Pride Night game against FC Dallas. For the first time since coming out, the out soccer player had the opportunity to play on Wednesday, July 4th, and when he stepped onto the field, the crowd stood up in thunderous applause and gave him a standing ovation.
The Independence Day game between the Minnesota United and the Toronto FC got especially exciting when Martin came off the bench in the 79th minute for Rasmus Schuller. Reporter Jeff Reuter tweeted, “A standing ovation as Collin Martin is announced. Goosebumps.”
Canadian news anchor, Kevin Jesus, tweeted a GIF of rainbow-colored heart and wrote, “HUGE! A standing ovation for @martcw12 who enters tonight’s @MNUFC vs @torontofc game… first time he’s stepped on the field since coming out last week. No doubt the #LGBTQ community and allies are all supporting him. So awesome.”
One facet that made the out soccer player’s entrance into Wednesday night’s game even more extraordinary was that he didn’t play in the game right after he publicly came out. His team’s Pride Night, Martin explained while he doesn’t think the move was a homophobic one, but that he is curious if his decision to come out prompted his benching for other reasons “I want to play every game, so that is normal,” Martin explains. “Maybe he [club manager Adrian Heath] thought I had a lot going on today.”