EDITOR'S NOTE: To honor National Coming Out Day on Monday, and in support of the LGBTQ+ community and their ongoing fight for equality, we're re-sharing an Extratime interview from earlier this year with former LA Galaxy winger Robbie Rogers and former Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin as they discuss their personal journeys in coming out and share advice for LGBTQ+ youth.
History was made earlier this week when Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib publicly came out as gay, becoming the first active NFL player to do so.
Few can relate to that step, but former LA Galaxy winger Robbie Rogers and former Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin, currently of the USL Championship's San Diego Loyal, certainly can. They both came out during their MLS playing careers, Rogers in 2013 and Martin in 2018.
Rogers and Martin stopped by the latest Extratime episode to discuss their personal journeys with co-hosts Andrew Wiebe and Charlie Davies, offering advice to LGBTQ+ youth who are considering coming out themselves.
"Personally, I try to tell people to pick one or two people that love you and that care about you, and when you're ready personally, open up to them and give them a chance to receive you for how you are," said Martin, whose pro career began with D.C. United. "And hopefully in most cases, they will. And if not, just know that's not a reflection of the person you are. But most cases, and I can only speak for myself, when you open up to the people that love you, they'll give you that love back and then hopefully, slowly, you can try to expand that and feel acceptance in other places."
Rogers offered a similar perspective, cognizant of how important support from different walks of life can be.
"My advice is somewhat similar, except the only ... difference I would have done when I was younger is probably find someone away from sports, probably away from my family, whether it was a therapist or someone with The Trevor Project or somewhere to just kind of be able to put some words to all these things I was feeling, that could possibly help guide me through these conversations I was about to have," said Rogers, who's also a former Columbus Crew player.
"I just think that could be important because a person like that or people like that, just to be able to get those words and those feelings outside of you and not just hold them all in, I think it's just a very healthy first step to, whether you're coming out to your family or your teammates or whatever, it's just good to have a person – it's not just an internal dialogue, you're expressing yourself and you're getting feedback from someone and they're helping you make a plan of how you're going to come out to all these people. I wish I would have done that."
For the full interview with Rogers and Martin, listen to the complete Extratime episode here.