The footballer admitted that walking off of the field was a “big statement.”
Earlier this year, the San Diego Loyal team walked off the field in support of their openly gay teammate Collin Martin after he was subjected to a homophobic slur from an opposing player.
The player in question was later fined and suspended for the slur.
In a Twitter statement, Collin said he was moved by his teammates’ 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.”
However, in a new interview with The Guardian he has explained that at the time he was “adamant” that the team should continue to play. “Hopefully there’ll be some retribution for the player, but I wanted to play,” he said.
“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.'”
At the moment the team walked off the field, Collin said he felt “distraught” adding: “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!”
Continuing, he said: “Personally I was fine, but I just wanted something to be done for what I knew wasn’t right.
“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?”
The footballer said that walking off of the pitch was a “big statement” and while he wasn’t certain whether it was necessary for homophobic abuse, he did feel that it was 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,” he explained.
Elsewhere in the interview, Collin also expressed his disappointment 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 recounted.
“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.”