Brittney Griner said her coach at Baylor University urged gay players to keep their sexuality a secret so it would not hurt recruiting and reflect badly on the program.
Griner, the first pick in the WNBA draft this year, said coach Kim Mulkey and the rest of the Baylor staff looked at it as a barrier to recruiting other players.
“It was a recruiting thing,” Griner said during an interview with ESPN The Magazine and espnW. “The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor.”
Brittney Griner said she has been openly gay during her entire time at Baylor, but chose not to talk about it out of respect for the program.
“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? ‘”
But Brittney Griner said she did not change who she was during her time at Baylor.
“I told Coach [Mulkey] when she was recruiting me. 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.”
Though she was openly gay, Brittney Griner “came out” casually during a series of interviews after finishing her senior season at Baylor.
Griner first delved into her sexuality in an April interview with SI.com. When asked about why men’s American sports didn’t have openly gay athletes but women’s sports did, Griner for the first time referred to her own sexuality.
“I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different,” Griner said. “Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are.”
The Baylor star added that she didn’t think about her status as one of the top female athletes when deciding to come out.
“It really wasn’t too difficult,” Brittney Griner said about her decision to come out as gay. “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. 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.”