Derrick Gordon, a guard on the Minutemen basketball team at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, came out on ESPN this morning and is now the first active openly gay male National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball player. Several athletes, including out sports stars Michael Sam, Brittney Griner and Jason Collins, alongside others have tweeted their support for Gordon.
I commend Derrick Gordon for coming out. It took a lot of nerves, especially while in college! I have a ton of respect for him!— Brittney Griner (@brittneygriner) April 9, 2014
What an important thing Derrick Gordon has done by coming out. UMass Div 1 BBall player. Way to go, Derrick! http://t.co/cz9LCYlNUT— Chely Wright (@chelywright) April 9, 2014
"I've always loved sports but always felt I had to hide and be someone that I’m not. For my whole life I’ve been living my life as a lie," said Gordon to ESPN. "I am telling my story so that athletes never feel like they have to hide. You can be true to yourself and play the sport that you love.” Derrick Gordon's announcement comes just one day after the completion of the NCAA Basketball National Championship.
"The tidal wave of support for gay and lesbian athletes continues to surge forward," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "Derrick's bold decision to come out as gay isn't just significant, it's inspirational. Today, countless young basketball players, athletes, and men of color have another outstanding role model who reflects the fact that you can be who you want to be no matter who you love."
"I was deeply moved watching Derrick open his heart to his UMass basketball family. His desire to invite his teammates into his life speaks to how athletes view their teammates as their family," said Wade Davis, Executive Director of the You Can Play Project. "I love being a part of an organization that continues to foster the creation of safe spaces for all individuals to be their authentic selves."
Congratulations on coming out, Derrick, and we wish you the best in your career!