- April 9, 2014
Post submitted by Annie Kehler, HRC Communications Intern
Derrick Gordon, a shooting guard for the University of Massachusetts, has come out as the first openly gay NCAA Division 1 basketball player. Gordon has spent his years as a college athlete in the closet, struggling with depression. He considered quitting the sport he loves due to bullying from those who suspected he was gay.
Gordon was given the opportunity to meet others who are out and in sports, and that gave him hope. When he made the decision to come out to his team, his coach broke the ice for him first before he told his story, which left no dry eye in the room.
Gordon says his reason for coming out was to give kids courage.
"When kids aren't able to come out, I know why," Gordon told ESPN. "It’s a scary thing. That's one of the reasons I’m doing this."
Gordon joins Jason Collins of the NBA, Brittany Griner of the WMBA, Robbie Rogers of MLS, and Michael Sam of NCAA Football, as some of the first openly gay and lesbian athletes in the United States.
HRC is proud of Gordon and each of these athletes’ decisions to live openly, and celebrates the inspiration they give to young LGBT athletes across the country.
Watch Derrick's first interview after coming out as gay on Andrea Mitchell Reports.