University of Massachusetts basketball player is being lauded for more than his impressive basketball skills. The UMass guard Derrick Gordon recently came out as a gay man. The announcement makes him the first openly gay athlete on a Division 1 college basketball team.
It was revealed by Outsports.com and ESPN that Gordon had come out to his teammates last week in a team meeting. Rumors about Derrick Gordon’s sexuality had been circulating for quite some time. He always denied the rumors. In fact, it was only recently that he confessed his truth to his immediate family.
Inspired by NBA player Jason Collins‘ coming out story, Derrick Gordon attended his team meeting with Anthony Nicodemo, who is an openly gay high school coach, and Wade Davis, a former NFL player who now runs the organization You Can Play. You Can play advocates inclusion of everyone in sports.
The UMass coach Derek Kellogg started the meeting by opening a discussion about diversity. After Derrick Gordon made his announcement to the team, Coach Kellogg said he supported Gordon a hundred percent. He said in a statement, ““I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly. He is a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being. We know his decision weighed heavily on him for some time, but as a coaching staff, a team and a family, we stressed to him that we support him in every way possible.”
Derrick Gordon told outSports, “‘Happy’ is not even the word. 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.”
Once Jason Collins heard about Derrick Gordon’s coming pout, he tweeted his support to the collegiate athlete. “I’m so proud of @flash2gordon.Another brave young man who is going to make it easier for so many others to live an authentic life.”