Amherst, MA, United States (4E Sports) – University of Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon revealed that he’s gay, becoming the first active player in Division I college basketball to do so.
Gordon joins other players who recently revealed their true sexuality, including Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, the first NBA player to announce that he was gay.
In February, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out publicly. The defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, he is expected to be drafted by an NFL team next month. If he suits up, he could become the first publicly gay NFL player.
A 6-3 sophomore guard, Gordon started all 33 games for UMass and averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. The Minutemen (24-9) reached the NCAA tournament, where they lost to Tennessee in their opening game.
Gordon admitted to his teammates that he was gay in a team meeting. He had previously denied rumors about his sexual orientation, and only recently told the truth to his parents.
“ ’Happy’ is not even the word,” Gordon said. “It’s a great feeling. I haven’t felt like this. Ever. It’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I can finally breathe now and live life happily. I told all the people I need to tell.”
When he told his teammates last week, Gordon was accompanied by a pair of newfound allies — Anthony Nicodemo, an openly gay high school coach in New York, and Wade Davis, a former NFL player and director of You Can Play, a group that advocates inclusion.
UMass Coach Derek Kellogg opened the meeting by speaking about the importance of diversity, and threw his full support behind Gordon.
“I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly,” Kellogg said. “He is a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being.”