Just weeks after NBA free agent Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay professional basketball player, top WNBA draft pick Britney Griner has followed in his footsteps.
Griner broke the news in various interviews this week but failed to garner much attention.
One of the most dominant basketball players in recent memory came out as gay Wednesday, casually mentioning the fact in an interview as if it were an afterthought. The news media and the sports world seemed to treat it as such, too, with little mention of the star’s sexuality showing up on social media or on message boards, and virtually no analysis of what the revelation meant for tolerance in society as a whole. At first glance, it seemed implausible. After all, players, fans, coaches and league executives had been waiting with bated breath for weeks, if not months and years, to see if an active team-sport athlete would come out. So how could this sort of revelation be treated with such nonchalance? (New York Times)
She also revealed why college athletes keep hush-hush on their sexual preferences.
“It was more of a unwritten law [to not discuss your sexuality] … it was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don’t do it,” Griner said Friday. “They kind of tried to make it, like, ‘Why put your business out on the street like that?'” (ESPNW)
Collins publicly came out in an exclusive Sports Illustrated feature late last month.
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand. My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.” (Sports Illustrated)
Following the announcement, rap stars like A$AP Rocky, T.I. and Lil Wayne embraced the news.
“What it does for sports? It’s opening a lot of doors and it’s showing that it’s a fair world out there,” Wayne told MTV News on Saturday morning (May 4) when we sat with him in Miami at a launch party for his new Spectre by Supra sneaker, the Chimera. “Just to see how many people came to his support and things like that, that’s a pretty fair world out there. Be you.” (MTV)