One year ago, NBA Center Jason Collins announced to the world that he was gay. The Inquisitr previously reported on the announcement that made Collins the first openly gay male athlete in any major sport’s league in the US. Now it appears that other athletes are indeed using Jason’s openness regarding his sexuality as inspiration. ESPN reports that University of Massachusetts sophomore Derrick Gordon followed Collins’s lead, and announced first to his teammates, and then to the world, that he is gay. Gordon said that the bravery Jason Collins showed when he made his announcement inspired him to embrace who he is, and not live behind the fear of what others might think.
“When he came out,” Gordon said, speaking about Jason Collins’s announcement last year, “I wanted to come out the next day.”
Gordon wouldn’t actually do so until a year later. Weighing heavy on his mind at the time, was the fact that Jason Collins was without a team when he told the world he was gay, and the 7-foot center was seemingly unable to find another team to sign with.
“It was a relief. I was like, ‘about time.’ Finally, it happened. But I still couldn’t jump the gun, because he wasn’t in the NBA at the time when he came out. But when he went back, that’s when I started to build a little more confidence. I watched his – he subbed into a game, and everybody stood up and started clapping. And I was visualizing myself as that being me.
You can watch the moment Derrick was referring to in the video below, as Jason Collins recently made his debut with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first openly gay player to play in any of the four major sports in the US.
As Collins made his way onto the floor, he received a round of applause from the fans. Not because he was gay, but because of the bravery he had shown, and the sacrifices he had made to truly be himself, and hopefully help pave the way for others to follow his example.
Derrick Gordon is doing his best to follow the example set by Jason Collins, and is now the first openly gay basketball player in NCAA Division I history, reports NBC.
This is the happiest I have ever been in my 22 Years of living…No more HIDING!!!…Just want to live… http://t.co/rR9KO8nGCu
— Derrick Gordon (@flash2gordon) April 9, 2014
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 9, 2014
As more players in US sports begin to come out about their sexuality, it will slowly, sometimes painfully slowly, become easier for the next athlete to do the same. Jason Collins led the way for male US athletes in major sports. Now others, such as the NFL draft prospect Michael Sam, and now Div-I basketball player Derrick Gordon, can follow in the path that Collins has made.