UMass Guard Gordon Becomes First Openly Gay D1 Basketball Player


Nick Glennon

UMass guard Derrick Gordon made headlines this weekend by coming out of the closet as the 1st openly gay player in Division 1 basketball history.

Gordon, who averaged 9.4 points per game last season for the Minutemen, came out to ESPN reporters on wednesday. Before announcing the news to ESPN, Gordon revealed his secret to family, friends and teammates – and was greeted with open arms. He explained his decision to publicly reveal his sexuality in an interview with ESPN. “I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way. 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 has since received praise from Brooklyn Nets forward Jason Collins and NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam. Collins was the first professional athlete to go public about being gay and Sam followed his lead a little over six months later. Jason Collins made history when he entered a game for the Nets this season as the first openly gay player to appear in an American professional sports game. Sam is a defensive end coming out of University of Missouri. He’s projected to be a 3rd round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft in May. It looks to be almost certain that Sam will be the first openly gay NFL player. It was only right for Sam and Collins to support Derrick Gordon. Almost as soon as Gordon came out, the two took to Twitter to voice their support for the UMass sophomore starter.

Homosexuality is not a new thing. Nor is it something that’s not normal or natural. However, professional athletes coming out is definitely a very novel idea to many people. The idea of athletes being gay is a very polarizing thought to some. When Jason Collins originally came out he was greeted with extreme support. Michael Sam also faced extreme support, especially from active NFL players, coaches and owners. Derrick Gordon took another step towards breaking barriers by revealing his sexuality on Wednesday. It’s crazy how somebody revealing their true identity is considered so groundbreaking. Nonetheless, Gordon’s revelation is another major step towards acceptance for the homosexual community in the world of sports.