(CBS) UMass sophomore guard Derrick Gordon stepped forward Wednesday as the first openly gay player in Division-I men’s college basketball, ESPN reported.
Gordon told his family, teammates and coaches about a week ago before sharing his story with ESPN and Outsports.
“I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way,” Gordon said, according to ESPN.com. “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 said he was emboldened by the reception Jason Collins has received in NBA circles since he announced he was gay last April and since he was signed recently by the Nets.
“That was so important to me, knowing that sexuality didn’t matter, that the NBA was OK with it,” Gordon told ESPN.
UMass lost to Tennessee in the first round of this year’s NCAA Tournament. Gordon averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Minutemen this season, starting all 33 games.