University of Massachusetts basketball player Derrick Gordon came out to his family and team, making him the first openly gay player in men’s Division I hoops.
Gordon made the announcement in interviews with ESPN and Outsports on Wednesday. The sophomore guard, who transferred from Western Kentucky, decided to come out publicly only a few days after UMass’ second-round loss in the NCAA tournament to Tennessee.
“I want to be myself,” Gordon said in the interview televised on ESPN. “I don’t want to hide and be someone I’m not.” Gordon says his teammates were supportive as soon as he shared the news. “We’re going to support you no matter what.”
“People think that gays shouldn’t be allowed to play sports or they’re too soft or this and that,” explained Gordon. “From the looks of it, I know Michael Sam isn’t soft and Jason Collins isn’t. For one, I’m not soft and I think people misinterpret that when it comes to being gay. It doesn’t have nothing to do with how you perform on the court and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m still gonna play the same. I’m still gonna be the beast guy that I am but my sexuality is just different.”