College basketball star Brittney Griner has been all over the news lately since billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban said he’s willing to draft Griner to the WNBA. Now Griner is making headlines again as she recently came out as gay.
Griner made the revelation during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, in which she sat alongside fellow top three WNBA draft picks, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne, to discuss the disparity between female athletes and male athletes coming out.
“I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different. Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are,” said Griner. “Again, like I said, just be who you are. Don’t worry about what other people are going to say, because they’re always going to say something. If you’re just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don’t hide who you really are.”
Though coming out has understandably been difficult for many pro athletes, Griner explained that she’s always been out and honest about her sexuality.
“It really wasn’t too difficult, I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So, it wasn’t hard at all,” said Griner, who recently signed with the Pheonix Mercury. “If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.”
Like Griner, Diggins and Delle Donne also shrugged off their fellow b-ball stars confession, saying “we don’t care” about her being gay. It’s wonderful that Griner has been so easily accepted by her peers. The moment also shows that there appears to be an easier experience for female athletes who come out of the closet than there is for male athletes.
“Because it was a woman,” said Jim Buzinski, a founder of Outsports.com, a Web site about homosexuality and sports. “Can you imagine if it was a man who did the exact same thing? Everyone’s head would have exploded.”
Everyone’s head did nearly explode earlier this week when NFL free agent Kerry Rhodes was supposedly outed by his alleged former lover, Russell “Hollywood” Simpson.
Hopefully, one day, the world won’t bat an eye lash at the idea of male or female athletes coming out. But progress takes times.
Check out some other female sports stars who have come out below. – nicholas robinson