While Baylor University certainly enjoyed Brittney Griner’s talents on the court, the former player claims that officials at the university told her to keep her sexual orientation a secret. Griner, who is now openly gay, wrote about her experience at Baylor in her new book In My Skin.
Baylor University is a private Baptist college in Waco, Texas. Griner played for Baylor from 2009-2013. To say that Griner, who stands at 6’8″ and has an 88″ wing span, was a standout at Baylor would be putting it lightly. Griner led her team to an NCAA Championship in 2012 and was named the AP Division I Player of the Year and the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in the same year. Griner is so good, in fact, that one NBA team didn’t rule out drafting her.
While Griner’s efforts on the court were appreciated, she says in her book that she was encouraged to hide her homosexuality while playing for Baylor. Baylor women’s basketball Coach Kim Mulkey is one person Brittney Griner mentioned that told her to keep her homosexuality to herself. In addition to telling the star player to watch what she posted on Twitter, Griner says that Mulkey also told her to keep “her business quiet.”
Since Baylor is both a Christian university and includes the following in their Statement on Human Sexuality, it’s no surprise that Griner’s sexuality was an issue.
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.
Even though the school makes it crystal clear where they stand on same-sex relationships, the fact that Griner’s coach and others knew about her sexuality and tried to hide it so they could utilize her talents was frustrating for the young star.
“The more I think about it, the more I feel like the people who run the school want it both ways: they want to keep the policy, so they can keep selling themselves as a Christian university, but they are more than happy to benefit from the success of their gay athletes,” Griner said in her book. “That is, as long as those gay athletes don’t talk about being gay.”
After staying quiet about her sexual orientation for four years, Griner came out to the public in April of 2013, right after being selected number one in the WNBA Draft.
And, after being told to watch what she posted online all those years, Griner has since become very open about her sexuality on Twitter:
It's funny when someone try to be mean or hateful and call me gay! Ummmm duh HELLO I'm gay ima Lesbian! Not a secret! Get new material lol
— Brittney Griner (@brittneygriner) May 16, 2013
Despite having to hide her sexuality for so long, Brittney Griner doesn’t have any ill feelings towards Mulkey or Baylor University. Griner says she wouldn’t change her decision to attend Baylor, even with the knowledge that she would have to conceal her homosexuality. Even though Griner loves her university, she doesn’t see herself becoming an ambassador anytime soon, though.
“I would love to be an ambassador for Baylor, to show my school pride, but it’s hard to do that,” Griner said. “I’ve spent too much of my life being made to feel like there’s something wrong with me. And no matter how much support I felt as a basketball player at Baylor, it still doesn’t erase all the pain I felt there.”
Griner’s book In My Skin (cover below) came out on April 8.
— Brittney Griner (@brittneygriner) February 27, 2014
Image via Twitter