Women’s Basketball Star: College Coach Told Me to Keep Quiet About Sexuality
A former women’s college basketball star and top WNBA draft pic made headlines this week after she revealed that her college coach told players not to come out about their sexuality because it would hurt their chances of being recruited and also make the school’s program look bad, ESPN reports.
Brittney Griner, who played at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and acknowledged she is gay in April, told ESPN, "The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor."
The athlete added that her coach, Kim Mulkey, told her not to tell the public she is gay because Mulkey and her staff were worried about the program’s image.
"It was more of an 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. "They kind of tried to make it, like, ’Why put your business out on the street like that?’"
Griner added that when Mulkey recruited her, she told the coach that she is gay.
"I was like, ’I’m gay. I hope that’s not a problem,’ and she told me that it wasn’t," Griner said. "I mean, my teammates knew, obviously they all knew. Everybody knew about it."
Griner, who is now preparing for her first WNBA season with the Phoenix Mercury, has been out to her friends and family since she was a freshman at Nimitz High School in Houston.
According to ESPN, Baylor, a private Baptist school, has a "Statement on Human Sexuality" in its student handbook. Under "Sexual Misconduct," the guide says, "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."
The college also says students who are "struggling with these issues" should contact the Spiritual Life Office or the Baylor University Counseling.
"Brittney Griner represented Baylor University proudly on and off the basketball court, and she leaves behind an incredible legacy," Mulkey told ESPN in a statement. "I cannot comment on personal matters surrounding any of our student-athletes, but I can tell you Brittney will always be a celebrated member of the Baylor family."