The University of Massachusetts defeated Siena 95-87 at the Mullins Center on November 14, 2014, but UMass’ win was not what lured ESPN’s attention to the game – NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I’s first openly gay player was.
In April of this year, UMass junior Derrick Gordon admitted in an interview with ESPN that he is gay, making him the first openly gay Division I men’s basketball player, and while ESPN’s game recap seemed even-handed in regards to its coverage of the game’s events, it would nonetheless be Gordon’s sexual preference, not his in-game performance, that would garner most of the attention on ESPN after Friday night’s game.
An article titled “UMass’ Derrick Gordon nets 17” remained prominently displayed on ESPN’s NCAA Men’s Basketball homepage for five straight days.
In the tightly contested game, two other UMass players outscored Derrick Gordon, but that didn’t stop ESPN’s Kate Fagan from focusing on UMass’ number three, and the game’s number four, scorer of the evening. “The 22-year-old, of Plainfield, N.J., scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He made 11 of 12 free throws, including two with 18.2 seconds remaining that helped seal the victory for the Minutemen in their season opener,” Fagan wrote. UMass’ star player of the game, Trey Davis, who was summarily glossed over in Fagan’s piece, “net[ted]” 28 points, grabbed two rebounds, made two steals and had four assists in the win. Likewise, Maxie Esho, who had equally impressive stats and also scored more points than Gordon, went unmentioned in Fagan’s piece. Esho scored 28 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had one steal during the game.
ESPN’s Fagan continued spouting her pro-gay propaganda in describing specific instances of pro-gay support that she noticed during the game:
“The UMass student section was filled Friday night, and a few minutes after the start of the game, students began chanting "Der-rick Gor-don" when he went to the free throw line. A separate group of students was holding up a sign featuring Gordon's jersey number -- No. 2 -- beneath, on which was written the Nike slogan "#BETRUE" in rainbow-colored letters.
“And in a different corner of the arena, one fan held up a rainbow flag.”
Derrick Gordon had this to say about “coming out” and playing the game:
"I'm just so happy and excited to finally put this out there," Gordon said at the time. "I've lived my life hiding behind somebody who I wasn't. I wasn't really that close to anybody on this team because there was something I had to hide."
He’s certainly not hiding anymore. ESPN has made sure of that.
Next, UMass takes on The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. If UMass should find a way to win, I wonder what the headline will read then? Whatever it may be, let’s hope it has more to do with the game and each respective teams’ play on the court and less to do with the players’ sexual preferences and an otherwise obvious pro-gay agenda.