UMass Amherst guard Derrick Gordon comes out as first openly gay male NCAA Division I basketball player
AMHERST, MA - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, and the You Can Play Project, one of North America's leading organizations dedicated to ensuring equality in sports, today hailed Derrick Gordon's coming out as the first openly gay male National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball player.
"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."
Derrick Gordon, a guard on the Minutemen basketball team at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, told ESPN today, "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. "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.
Earlier this year, 24 year-old University of Missouri football defensive end and NFL prospect Michael Sam attracted national news headlines following his announcement that he is gay. Also this year, basketball center Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete in professional sports after being signed to the Brooklyn Nets.