UMass Amherst's Derrick Gordon says he's gay - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

UMass Amherst's Derrick Gordon says he's gay

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AMHERST, MA (WSHM) -

For UMass Amherst's Derrick Gordon, the game of basketball has been a huge part of his life, but that's not the only thing.

He said since he was a boy he has lived with a secret that he kept hidden from his friends, family and the world.

That is, until now. Gordon became the first openly gay athlete for Division I men's college basketball when he made his announcement on Wednesday.

"I just feel free to be able to do what I want to do and still be able to play the game that I love," said Gordon. 

He said for years he battled hiding his true identity and who he really was from everyone in his life.

After gaining the courage to tell his family he was gay, Gordon then came out to his teammates.

"This is a path that has not been walked before, but I mean, first and foremost, we were all there for support and to just be there no matter what," said Gordon's teammate, Tyler Bergantino.

"Honestly, I really didn't care that much. He's a friend, he's a brother, he's a teammate. Whether he was black, white, gay, straight, Catholic or Jewish, it wouldn't matter to me," continued Bergantino.

Gordon thanked head coach Derek Kellogg for being one of his biggest supporters who has helped him through this ordeal.

"He just said, 'Hey coach, I'm gay.' I immediately told him we're family and you know we're here for you," said Kellogg.

"He's been and unbelievable young man here at the university since he's been here both on and off the court. He's been one of our toughest and most imposing guys on the court. He's been a role model for a lot of different people. Now he becomes a role model in another way for a lot of people out there who may be in the similar situation," explained Kellogg.

Gordon said his decision to come out was inspired by NBA player Jason Collins who publicly announced he was gay last year.

"I haven't felt like this in 22 years. It's a blessing to have the support that I have and for the coaches and team that I have," said Gordon.

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