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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
UMass' Derrick Gordon says he's gay


Derrick Gordon, a sophomore starter for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team, stepped forward Wednesday as the first openly gay player in Division I men's college basketball, sharing his story with ESPN and Outsports.

The 22-year-old shooting guard came out to his family, coaches and teammates in just a few days at the beginning of April. That's when he also decided to publicly acknowledge his sexuality.

"I just didn't want to hide anymore, in any way," Gordon told ESPN. "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, a native of Plainfield, N.J., said that a key moment for him came when the Brooklyn Nets signed veteran center Jason Collins to a 10-day contract in February. Collins, who publicly acknowledged his sexuality in April 2013, became the first openly gay player in NBA history when he took the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 23.

"That was so important to me, knowing that sexuality didn't matter, that the NBA was OK with it," Gordon said.

A number of people in the UMass athletic administration worked closely with Gordon behind the scenes as he prepared to come out to his teammates.

Here's a shout out from his coach, Derrick Kellogg, on Twitter:

I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly.

— Derek Kellogg (@CoachKellogg) April 9, 2014

He is a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being.

— Derek Kellogg (@CoachKellogg) April 9, 2014

We know his decision weighed heavily on him for some time, but as a coaching staff, a team and a family, we stressed to him...

— Derek Kellogg (@CoachKellogg) April 9, 2014

that we support him in every way possible. Derrick is a first-class representative of this University...

— Derek Kellogg (@CoachKellogg) April 9, 2014

and this program since he joined us and we are all very proud of him.

— Derek Kellogg (@CoachKellogg) April 9, 2014

(Read full story.)