came out on April 2 to his teammates with help from head coach Derek Kellogg. (Steve Helber/AP)
UMass guard Derrick Gordon has come out as the first openly gay male college basketball player in D-I history. He told his teammates on April 2, a few days after telling his parents, according to a story by Kate Fagan of espnW.com.
Just before Gordon broke the news at a team meeting, UMass coach Derek Kellogg told his players, "We're all here together, and we need to love each other for who we are," he said. "One of your family members, your brother, wants to let you know something about himself."
Gordon said that he drew inspiration from previous players who have come out as gay in other sports, such as NBA player Jason Collins and Michael Sam, a star football player at Missouri.
"It was a rough process, actually, leading up to this," Gordon told ESPN. "Those guys just helped me get to where I am right now. If it wasn't for them, I'd be stuck. For this to be happening right now, me coming out, it's an indescribable feeling, honestly. I couldn't be any happier. I feel like I can fly."
Gordon, a starter for UMass last season, averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season. He posted the picture below on Instagram on Wednesday morning with the following comment:
"This is the happiest I have ever been in my 22 Years of living...No more HIDING!!!...Just want to live life happy and play the sport that I love...Really would love to thank my family, friends, coaches, and teammates for supporting me....I would also like to thank my support team Wade Davis, Jason Collins, Brian Sims, Micah Porter, Anthony Nicodemo, Patrick Burke,Billy Bean, Gerald McCullough, Kirk Walker...You guys are AWESOME!!! Ready to get back in the gym with my teammates and get on the GRIND and get ready for next season!!!! #BETRUE #BEYOURSELF #HONEYBADGER"
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