In the middle of a game earlier this year, the San Diego Loyal team walked off the field in response to an opposing player directing a slur at their openly gay teammate, Collin Martin. Collin Martin now responds to this act of solidarity by his teammates.
Martin tweeted out that he was moved by his team’s decision to walk off, saying: “Their collective decision to walk off the field in solidarity and forfeit the match speaks volumes of their support for me and what this organisation is standing up to.”
Recently Martin spoke with The Guardian, saying at the time he was adamant that the team kept playing despite the foul language from the opposing team. “Hopefully there’ll be some retribution for the player, but I wanted to play,” he continued. “All my teammates were like, ‘Yeah that’s cool, but if there’s nothing done to the player then we need to make a stand and not play.'”
When his teammates began to walk off the field, Martin said he felt uncomfortable, “I was just embarrassed that my sexuality had anything to do with the outcome of a game or us forfeiting it, so to me it was really a bit too much to handle. And I was just pissed that we had to deal with this!”
“Personally I was fine, but I just wanted something to be done for what I knew wasn’t right.” Martin went on, “And I think part of me being a role model and advocate for the community is, I can’t stand up against hate at all levels of the game and sport if I‘m not going to stick up for myself on the field, right?”
Collin Martin also expressed his regret at not coming out earlier, recounting the time that a journalist had asked about his team supporting an LGBTQ+ initiative. “I kind of gave her a BS answer, but I felt really stupid because I wish I could have just told her, ‘I’m a gay man playing this game, and to see my colleagues supporting something like this means the world to me,'” he stated.
“It was like, there’s so many people that have supported you up to this point to where you shouldn’t have to withhold it from the public – and I looked around and there was nobody like me, and so I thought maybe I could be an example for somebody if I came out.”
While the player who spoke the homophobic slur was fined and suspended, Martin isn’t certain that leaving the field was necessary for homophobic abuse, but making a ‘big statement’ like walking off the field would be vital to stand up for racism.
“I know how it felt personally and I wouldn’t want to have to deal with it again, but I think racism is still so prevalent in our game today and all over the world – and I think in order to make a big statement, if it happens to a team, [they should] walk off the field in support of that guy,” Martin explained.
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