Derrick Gordon will have the game of his life as he tries to lead Seton Hall to a victory in the NCAA Tournament when they face Gonzaga Bulldogs, but one of obstacles he will also face is the condemnation from Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) on his sexual preference.
Just arrived in Denver with my team…Game Thursday night vs. Gonzaga..We're on a mission! pic.twitter.com/OQYvd16XgQ
— Derrick Gordon (@flash2gordon) March 15, 2016
WBC, which is known for its hate speeches especially against the LGBT community, Jews and politicians, have openly stated that they will boycott Derrick Gordon for being gay and for playing in the NCAA’s “March Madness.”
TMZ reported that the group even posted on their Twitter account and called out their members to stage a picket outside the Pepsi Center in Denver to send their message not only to Gordon but also to the league.
“Satan-inspired media loves to stoke his rebellion, but we’ll protest @marchmadness for Derrick Gordon,” the church tweeted.
The 24-year old shooting guard got he irk from WBC after openly admitting his sexual orientation. Aside from being the first gay man to play in the NCAA, Gordon will also be the first player to ever play in the league for three different schools. He first played for West Kentucky (2011-2012); then for UMass (2013-2015); and now for Seton Hall University.
Gordon admitted his sexual orientation back in April 2014 when he came out telling his family and teammates about it before making known publicly. He stated that Jason Collins was his inspiration in coming out as the 37-year old player and former Brooklyn Nets became the first NBA player to admit his gay.
“I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way … I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, ‘Why not me?’” Gordon said.
However, Gordon is getting lots of encouragement from the people around him and from the fans of the NCAA. Even NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley encourages Gordon to focus on the game and never mind the haters. TMZ caught up with Barkley and the former Phoenix Suns stated that the WBC are awful people and someone should beat them up.
“Aren’t those the same people who boycott soldiers’ funerals? Yeah, man, I hate them sumbitches. … I really hate them sumbitches. They awful people. They act like they’re religious, they’re really awful people. If you get lucky, maybe somebody will beat the hell out of them. … Hopefully, somebody will beat the hell out of those Westboro people. Hopefully soon,” Barkley added.
Aside from Barkley, Gordon’s coach also aired his support for him and stated over USA Today that the matter is an old issue and that the new generation of athletes are very much open about the subject matter.
“For us, the fact that he’s gay is an old story. These kids know about Derrick, they’re on social media and are very informed. This generation of athletes are much more educated on the gay athlete. I think the attention is brought on by adults. We make it a bigger deal. Some of these kids can teach us a lesson on how to handle this type of stuff,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard explained.
No matter what people think Gordon is on a mission, so also his teammates, that is to win games in the NCAA and to bring back their school’s name as title contenders such as the feat that the school had back in 1989.
Photo Courtesy: Derrick Gordon @flas2gordon/Twitter