UMass Basketball Player Derrick Gordon Comes Out as Gay
UMass guard Derrick Gordon hopes his decision to become the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball will inspire others.
"There are a lot of kids out there in my situation, probably far worse situations," he said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "Maybe I can give a lot of kids that confidence that they need to get over that hump."
Earlier Wednesday, Gordon made the announcement in interviews with ESPN and Outsports. He said he gained confidence by seeing an NBA team sign Jason Collins, who became the league’s first openly gay player when he joined the Brooklyn Nets this season.
"Right now I’m happy. I’m free just to live my life," Gordon told the AP.
The sophomore was the Minutemen’s fourth-leading scorer with 9.4 points per game last season. UMass reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998 and lost in its first game to Tennessee. He sat out the previous season after transferring from Western Kentucky to be closer to his family in New Jersey, where he played at high school powerhouse St. Patrick.
Gordon said he told his parents he was gay March 30, informed UMass coach Derek Kellogg the next day and told his teammates two days later, which was last Wednesday. He said some of them probably have known since last summer.
"They could sense it because I kind of separated myself from the team," Gordon said. "I didn’t really hang out with them as far as going to parties and stuff. I really kind of kept to myself, kept quiet. We went on road trips - I’d sit by myself and they were always wondering why. I did it because I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where maybe something happens and they end up finding out. Then what? I’m not going to know how to handle the situation."