UMass guard Derrick Gordon came out today in interviews with Outsports and ESPN, a week after telling his teammates and coaches. "'Happy' is not even the word," said Gordon, the first active male Division I athlete in a major sport to speak publicly about being gay. "It's a great feeling. I haven't felt like this. Ever. It's a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I can finally breathe now and live life happily. I told all the people I need to tell."
Gordon, a New Jersey native, credits NBA player Jason Collins and future NFL-er Michael Sam with inspiring his own comeback. (Like Collins, he has a twin brother, although Daryl Gordon is currently incarcerated; Derrick says basketball saved him from gang life.)
"People think gay men are soft," Gordon said. "I'm not. Especially my background growing up, I was never a soft kid and I'll never be a soft kid. People think gays are very delicate. That's not the case at all. I know Michael Sam and Jason Collins aren't delicate. My strength coach compares me to a pit bull. There's no softness in this body."
On his very smiley Instagram today, Gordon wrote, "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"