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Friday, November 21, 2014

Brittney Griner: Baylor discouraged me from being openly gay

Brittney GrinerBrittney Griner says she was discouraged by her coaches and the Baylor athletic department from being openly gay while in college the past five years.

Griner just completed her senior season in Waco and was selected No. 1 overall by the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The former two-time first-team All-American center came out publicly last month, though she says she has been openly gay since high school.

Griner told ESPN The Magazine/espnW that she was discouraged from being open while at Baylor. She says she was told to keep it private because it could damage recruiting.

“It was a recruiting thing,” Griner told ESPN The Magazine and espnW. “The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor.”

Griner says she told Baylor coach Kim Mulkey up front when she was being recruited that she was gay. She says Mulkey told her that was not an issue. However, she was discouraged from being open about her sexuality.

“It was more of an unwritten law, but come to find out it was a written law. It was kind of one of those things like, ‘just don’t do it.’ They kind of try to make it like, ‘Why put your business out on the street like that?'” Griner told espnW’s Kate Fagan.

Griner says the issue first came up when she tweeted something.

“I tweeted something out and it was kind of like ‘hey, you need to probably not do that, pull that off.'”

Griner says she tweeted something to her ex and was asked to take it down. She believes it was someone from the compliance office who asked her to remove the tweet.

One of the reasons Griner was likely discouraged from being openly gay in college is Baylor’s religious affiliation. Baylor is a Baptist school that does not believe in homosexuality. Here’s the school’s Statement on Human Sexuality as it appears in the student handbook:

Baylor University welcomes all students into a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and learn about a variety of issues, including those of human sexuality. The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.

I’m sure Baylor wasn’t complaining about all the positive attention Griner brought the school through her basketball career, but it’s not like Griner didn’t know what she was getting into. Or, if she didn’t know, then she didn’t do her proper research ahead of time. Either way, this really explains why there has been so much about Griner’s sexuality recently; she was discouraged from talking about it before.

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE


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