Derrick Gordon, the first openly gay Division I college basketball player, is transferring to Seton Hall University for his senior session. Gordon, who recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts, made the announcement on May 17.
“It’s been a long recruiting process, but I’m happy to say I will be going to Seton Hall University! Can’t wait to play for Coach [Kevin] Willard,” he posted on Twitter.
Gordon told USA Today Sports that since announcing his transfer in March, he encountered what he saw as homophobia during the recruiting process.
“Honestly, it caught me off-guard. It really hurt. It had me stressing, crying. I was starting to lose hope,” Gordon said. “I felt like I was being treated like an outsider, like I didn’t belong in the NCAA. I couldn’t believe it because I’m a good player and they were looking at the opposite — something that doesn’t mean anything with my [sexuality]. ‘Nah, not the gay guy.'”
Gordon said he expects a much smoother transition to Seton Hall.
“Coach [Kevin Willard] has already talked to the players, and they said, ‘As long as he helps us win, we’re going to be his brother.’ It’s about what I can do for the team,” Gordon told USA Today. “Obviously, me being on the team will be a new experience for everyone involved. This is another new chapter for me.”
Gordon’s transfer brings good news to Seton Hall’s LGBT community, after Rev. Warren Hall announced May 15 that he was fired for publicly supporting the “NOH8” campaign.
Hall tweeted, “I’ve been fired from SHU for posting a pic on FB supporting LGBT ‘NO H8.’ I’m sorry it was met with this response. I’ll miss my work here.”
Seton Hall University did not comment stating it was “a personnel matter.”
Hall, who was the director of the school’s campus ministry, received almost 4,000 signatures on a change.org petition created by a Seton Hall student to reinstate his job.
Responding to the support his original tweet received, which has since been deleted, Hall tweeted, “Grateful for all the support. Dont be angry!! Turn this into an opportunity for open/reasonable discussion on LGBT issues on a Cath Campus.”