Basketball player Derrick Gordon came out as gay today (9 April).
In his coming out, he has become the first openly gay National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 basketball player.
A sophomore starter for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball player, the 22-year-old has decided to come out at the beginning of his career.
‘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 said he was inspired after Jason Collins came out and was signed to Brooklyn Nets, the first gay player in NBA history.
‘That was so important to me, knowing that sexuality didn’t matter, that the NBA was OK with it,’ Gordon said.
According to the young athlete, after he came out to them earlier this month, one teammate immediately said: ‘We got you; you’re one of us.’
‘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.’