Archived: UMass Basketball Star Announces He's Gay

By Julissa Catalan

Derrick Gordon made history this week by becoming the first NCAA’s Division I basketball player to publically come out. The UMass sophomore starter made his announcement in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday. “I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way,” Gordon told ESPN. “I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, ‘Why not me'” Shortly after his interview with ESPN, Gordon tweeted, “I am the first Division I male basketball player to come out and not the last. I AM gay, I’m not afraid. I’m not alone.”

Gordon credited Jason Collinswho recently made history as the first openly gay active NBA playerfor giving him the strength to come out as well. “That was so important to me, knowing that sexuality didn’t matter, that the NBA was OK with it,” Gordon said. Collins showed his support to Gordon’s coming out via Twitter:

Gordon, a 22-year-old Plainfield, N.J. native, came out to his family, coaches and teammates at the beginning of April, just a few short days before making it public to the rest of the world. The University of Massachusetts showed their support for the student athlete, who averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season. “UMass is proud to have Derrick Gordon as a member of our athletic family and to honor his courage and openness as a gay student-athlete,” athletic director John McCutcheon said in a statement. “UMass is committed to creating a welcoming climate where every student-athlete, coach and staff member can be true to themselves as they pursue their athletic, academic and professional goals.” His UMass coach has been exceptionally supportive, even helping him prepare to come out to the rest of team, and publicly showing him encouragement on Twitter since his announcement.

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