Collin Martin, the Minnesota United midfielder who came out publicly last, became only the third publicly out gay man to play in a major regular-season professional sports competition in the United States.
Martin entered the United’s match against Toronto FC in the 79th minute. He had been expected by many play in the club’s June 29 Pride Night match against Dallas, but that did not come to fruition.
The midfielder was brought into the match to protect a 4-2 lead in the closing minutes. Minnesota eked out a victory, 4-3.
Martin joins former NBA player Jason Collins and former MLS player Robbie Rogers as the only three publicly out gay men to compete in a regular-season game after coming out publicly.
Despite there being about 4,000 athletes who play in the Big Five American sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS — every year, only three have ever been publicly out.
Given how many have actually been LGBTQ, that is quite sad.
Michael Sam competed in one game for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League over a year after coming out publicly, but he never earned a spot on an NFL regular-season roster. He did play in four preseason games for the St. Louis Rams.
While Glenn Burke was out to some members of the team in the late Seventies with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics, he was not out publicly in the media.
Various other gay athletes, including Dave Kopay, Billy Bean, Esera Tuaolo and John Amaechi, came out publicly after their career was over.
Martin is currently the only publicly out LGBTQ player in men’s major professional team sports in North America.