04/17/2014 02:03 pm ET Updated Apr 17, 2014

Openly Gay College Athletes Explain What It's Like To Come Out To Their Team

Derrick Gordon, a sophomore starter for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team, publicly came out last week, making him the firstly openly gay NCAA Division I basketball player. His public discussion of his sexuality comes after Michael Sam and Jason Collins did the same, largely finding support from the public.

Does this acceptance from the sports world means being openly gay is becoming much easier for student athletes?

University of Notre Dame tennis player Matthew Dooley joined HuffPost Live to discuss his recent decision to sit down his entire team down to tell them he is gay.

"The first thing they said was, 'Thank you,' and that it brought the team closer together. People were excited for what that meant -- you know, if we can all move forward with something like this, look what we can do," Dooley said. "I’ve never had any issues. My team loves me, I love them."

In regard to locker-room talk, Dooley said it's becoming a non-issue. He remembered one player directly apologizing to him after saying "that's gay."

"Ever since then, you’ll hear people say 'Oh, that’s gay' and then they’ll stop and they don't even look at me," Dooley said. "It’s really rare that this happens, but it’s usually never the word fag or anything like that. That’s kind of out of most people’s vocabulary by now, I think, which is obviously a great thing."

Another guest in the segment, Eric Lueshen, shared what it was like to come out to his football team when he played for the University of Nebraska a decade ago in a conservative state.

"Eventually I made friends with two really popular guys on the team," Lueshen said, "they asked me one day if I was gay, I said yes, and after that the whole atmosphere of the athletic department, my team and my coaches began to change, and eventually love and accept me for who I am."

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview about what it's like to be a gay college athlete.



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