Footballer Collin Martin endured vile homophobia on the pitch. Even still, he says there’s never been a better time to come out in sport

Collin Martin. (Shaun Clark/Getty)

San Diego Loyal player Collin Martin says that even though he had to endure homophobia on the pitch, he doesn’t think “there is a better time to come out” than now.

Martin made headlines in October when he was subjected to a vile homophobic slur on the pitch by Phoenix Rising’s Junior Flemmings. Martin’s team, San Diego Loyal, forfeited the game in protest.

Martin told Advocate that the incident was an emotional day for him and his team.

“I was feeling a ton of different things, slight embarrassment and anger among them, but in the locker room after the game, and after losing our chance for the playoffs, it was also a lot for my teammates to handle,” he said.

Since then, Martin has received an outpouring of support and love from people around the world. He appeared on Good Morning America to further talk about the incident and how it affected him and the team.

Some weeks after the GMA appearance Flemmings reached out to Martin to apologise.

“He was having a really good season, and lost a lot because of his mistake, so there was no way he couldn’t understand the consequences,” Martin said.

“On the phone I tried to tell him how hard it was for gay people in our country, and also in his home country of Jamaica, to be themselves and to be accepted, and for him to take that under consideration. And hopefully he will wipe that word out of his vocabulary.”

Martin said that he’s also heard from several gay athletes since the incident, and since he first came out.

“I don’t think there is a better time to come out,” he added. “Frankly, I don’t know what’s holding some of these athletes back from coming out. Maybe they just want to keep that side of them private. I’m not sure, but there’s not a better time to come out for sure.”