Derrick Gordon, the first openly gay Division 1 basketball player who came out while at UMass, is now starting at Seton Hall where teammates have embraced him. The news is more positive as Seton Hall is a Catholic school with an anti-LGBT history.
“I have a great group of guys. I got them all together and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a chance to get Derrick. Everyone knows. Does anybody have an issue?’ They all looked at me and said, ‘Coach, as long as he can help us win games, that’s what it’s all about,'” [Kevin] Willard said at the team’s media day on Thursday. “They’ve welcomed him. He has been great. He has spent the extra time getting to know the guys. His personal life is his personal life. No one asks me about my personal life, I don’t ask about anyone else’s personal life. So we’re just happy to have him. We’re happy to have a great role model on and off the court.”
Gordon told NJ.com that he faced “blatant homophobia” in his transfer process but none from Seton Hall:
“Not once. And I’m so surprised. My teammates, I’m very good friends with just about all of them, but I’m real close to Veer (Singh) and Myles (Carter). We talk a lot, we talk about relationship stuff and just anything, just bonding like anybody else. They don’t look at me as an outsider. At the end of the day, yeah, I’m gay. But trust me, it’s not going to change who I am as a person.”