In an interview with LGBT glossy The Advocate, soccer star Collin Martin talked about the support he's received since coming out gay in 2018.

Martin's public coming out included a photo of himself draped in a rainbow flag on social media during Pride month.

Earlier this fall, Martin's San Diego Loyal teammates made international headlines when they walked off the field and forfeited a game in protest against Phoenix Risings' Junior Flemmings' use of a homophobic slur aimed at Martin. The walkoff cost the Loyal a spot in the playoffs.

“Obviously, walking off the field was emotional for everyone that day,” Martin said. “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; however, realizing that together we took a big stand, it became a really big deal, and it was a testament that really showed not only their support for me, but how close we all became over the season.”

Martin said that Flemmings called him to apologize a few weeks later.

“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,” Martin said. “And, hopefully he will wipe that word out of his vocabulary.”

Martin cited the overwhelmingly positive response he received as proof that the time was right for closeted gay athletes to come out.

“I don't think there is a better time to come out,” he said. “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.”

Martin is the only male out athlete in a major American professional sports league. Robbie Rogers, the MLS' first player to publicly come out, retired in 2017.