Female Star Comes Out as Gay, and Sports World Shrugs
By SAM BORDEN
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?
“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.”
The aftermath of the former Baylor star Brittney Griner’s revelation in several interviews this week was muted, to say the least. Griner, who was chosen with the No. 1 pick in the W.N.B.A. draft Monday, did not treat the issue with any outward hesitation — in fact, she appeared to refer to her coming out in the past tense, as though it had happened before — giving a casual feeling to the entire episode.
It was an odd juxtaposition: as there is increased speculation about whether a male athlete — any male athlete — will come out while still playing a major professional team sport, one of the best female athletes in the history of team sports comes out, and the reaction is roughly equivalent to what one might see when a baseball manager reveals his starting rotation for a three-game series in July.
“A few weeks ago, we had a story on Outsports about the rumors that an N.F.L. player was going to come out — no one knew who, or anything more than that,” Buzinski said. “All it had was, ‘I think some player might possibly come out but I don’t know who,’ essentially.”
Buzinski gave a wry laugh. “That story got 10 times the traffic of Brittney Griner, on video, saying that she is a lesbian,” he said.
There is, obviously, a more substantial history to female athletes’ coming out and continuing to play. Individual-sport stars like the tennis legend Martina Navratilova and team-sport players like basketball’s Sheryl Swoopes and soccer’s Megan Rapinoe are among the women to continue playing after publicly discussing their sexuality.
But those players generally received a similarly subdued response, with nothing close to the expected surge in attention that figures to follow a male athlete’s coming out. The reaction to Griner’s disclosure, then, was simply the latest example of a disturbing trend, according to some leaders of L.G.B.T. causes.
“We talk a lot in the L.G.B.T. community about how sexism is a big part of what contributes to homophobia,” said Anna Aagenes, the executive director of GO! Athletes, a national network of L.G.B.T. athletes. “It’s disheartening when there are so many great role model female athletes out that we’re so focused on waiting for a male pro athlete to come out in one of the four major sports.”
Context may not be the only factor in the ho-hum public response to Griner’s disclosure. Stereotypes that top female athletes are gay continue to persist, and that probably played a role in how the sports world responded to Griner, said Sherri Murrell, the women’s basketball coach at Portland State and the only openly gay basketball coach in Division I.
Who gives a shit about a smelly dyke?
Fuck you r2. jesus, get some fucking help for your mommy issues already,
She has been praised far round for being the BEST basketball player in college sports today. It is hard for female athletes. So many are under immense pressure to look 'feminine' to counteract homophobia. Some of them even have to sign contract saying they're not gay and won't act 'that way'. It's ludicrous.
So good on Griner.
And yes, OP there was a thread on this already. Do a search next time
She's a great player. I remember her being able to dunk in high school. High school!
Good on her for coming out.
Of course no one gave a damn. Subverting stereotypes is what makes news.
If a top fashion designer guy comes out no one would care either.
For lesbians is the feminine types that shock people and make news. For gay guys it is the more masculine type which makes news. That is why a professional athlete in a "masculine" sport is a big deal for guys and not girls.
It isn't that complicated and it is to be expected.
It's only straight athletes that are overly concerned about a gay player seeing them naked.
*straight male athletes
I think it's a given that most female athletes are gay or bi.
This isn't interesting news, OP.
There's already a thread, this isn't news.
I should have noticed the previous thread but I post within minutes of the story appearing on the Times website so I thought I was safe. However, this thread has more posts in 35 minutes then that one had in 27 hours, so I'm not really that sorry.
If she's a woman then she's not a 'major basketball star'. At best she's a female pro athlete.
Are there any straight women or coaches in the WNBA??? I sure haven't found one yet. And please don't name the one who is married to Sheldon Williams formerly of Duke. He is 100% gay.
He was suspended from his highschool hoops team for sexual harassment of other players.
R12 has it right. She's barely known to the general public.