By Ken Reed

Seton Hall guard Derrick Gordon’s stay in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament didn’t last long. The Pirates were eliminated by Gonzaga Thursday night.

Nevertheless, Gordon, the first openly gay player to play in the NCAA tournament, has made a positive difference by coming out.

“I did it because there were a lot of kids out there killing themselves and there were people who stopped playing their sport because they felt they couldn’t fit in,” said Gordon Wednesday.

“Hopefully me coming out could help them in many ways. Looking at me, playing for a top Division I school and being in the NCAA Tournament, they will say: ‘OK, if he can do it, I can do it, as well.”

Gordon said the reaction to his coming out has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Nothing bad has come from it,” said Gordon. “It’s all been extremely positive, just tons and tons of support from across the country. It’s been really great for me, honestly,” Gordon said. “Then me being the first openly gay to play in the NCAA Tournament, that’s when a lot more people reached out, with a lot more people being supportive.”

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about Gordon’s decision. The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, a strongly anti-gay congregation, announced they would protest Gordon’s participation in the NCAA tourney.

On its Twitter account this week, the church said, “Satan-inspired media loves to stoke his rebellion, but we’ll protest March Madness for Derrick Gordon!”

“The only lawful sexual connection is the marriage bed. All other sex activity is whoremongery and adultery, which will damn the soul forever in hell.”

– Westboro Baptist Church

Progress as a society continually — albeit usually gradually — marches forward, but occasionally we will always have to deal with groups pulling us back.

In the meantime, Derrick Gordon deserves a big shoutout for his courage and willingness to open eyes and help other people.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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