Sports Fan Winkle: Is intolerance in sports a thing of the past?

A sports fan falling asleep Rip Van Winkle-style in 2004 and waking up in 2014 would have a hard time believing she wasn’t still dreaming.

In the past year, Jason Collins became the first openly gay NBA player. Michael Sam declared his homosexuality, and was drafted into the NFL. Brittany Griner came out, and was picked first in the WNBA draft. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for expressing racist views. Here in the Valley, Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay male basketball player at a Division 1 school.

Intolerance in sports—based on race or sexual orientation—seems like a thing of the past.

The day of Gordon’s announcement, UMass held a media event with not only the sophomore guard, but also men’s basketball coach Derrick Kellogg, Athletic Director John McCutcheon, and Professor Emeritus Pat Griffin—who has been an advocate of LGBTQ sports equality for decades.

“I could have been anywhere and come out,” Gordon told me, “but I just happen to be in Massachusetts, which is great.”

“I’m really proud of UMass,” Griffin added. “The entire athletic department, from McCutcheon on down, has been amazing.”

(Read on at the Valley Advocate.)

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