Derrick Gordon, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, has become the first openly gay player in men’s Division I college basketball. A few days ago, Gordon came out to his family and teammates. He has now gone public with his sexuality.
“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?'”
Gordon, a native of Plainfield, N.J., said that a key moment for him came when the Brooklyn Nets signed veteran center Jason Collins to a 10-day contract in February. Collins, who publicly acknowledged his sexuality in April 2013, became the first openly gay player in NBA history when he took the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 23.
A number of people in the UMass athletic administration worked closely with Gordon behind the scenes as he prepared to come out to his teammates.
Gordon made the decision to publicly acknowledge his sexuality after the team’s first-round loss to Tennessee in the NCAA tournament on March 21.
Gordon joins what appears to be a growing list of major athletes who have recently declared their sexual freedom.
In February, University of Missouri’s Michael Sam announced that he was gay, and Jason Collins became the first active openly-gay professional athlete in all four major pro sports networks when he signed to the Brooklyn Nets.
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