UMass Basketball Player Comes Out as Gay

Derrick Gordon, a sophomore basketball player at the University of Massachusetts, announced that he's gay on Wednesday, making him the first openly out player in men's Division I college basketball.

"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, who told his coaches and teammates earlier this month, said he was inspired by the Brooklyn Nets decision to sign Jason Collins, an openly gay center, to a 10-day contract in February.

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

University of Massachusetts athletic director John McCutcheon released a statement Wednesday expressing support for Gordon.

"UMass is proud to have Derrick Gordon as a member of our athletic family and to honor his courage and openness as a gay student-athlete. UMass is committed to creating a welcoming climate where every student-athlete, coach and staff member can be true to themselves as they pursue their athletic, academic and professional goals."

In February, Michael Sam, a senior at the University of Missouri, publicly came out as gay. It's widely believed Sam will become the first openly gay player in NFL history next season.

[Image via AP]