Monday, July 28, 2014

Brittney Griner needs to take a seat.

Brittney Griner needs to take a seat.

In her new book, she talks about the homophobia she experienced while at Baylor University.

As a student of Baylor at the same time as Griner, I can tell you that we all knew she was gay. She openly held hands with her girlfriend on campus, they attended events together and spoke about it in class. The only time this has become an issue for her, is once she started talking to news outlets and she realized there's a lucrative book deal in talking trash about apparent conservatives in an effort to make her road appear more difficult as a gay person.

We know it's hard to come out and every person who goes through that process has their own story, especially in conservative environments. But Griner wasn't an outcast because she was gay at Baylor. People on campus looked up to her and in the two interactions I had with her, she was nothing but kind. Actually, one of those interactions was when she was hand-in-hand with her girlfriend. In public. No. One. Cared. She was doted upon and adulated like a celebrity and was often driven by a golf cart to her classes. There wasn't any talk about her not being able to be herself because in public, when I saw her, she was very open.

Gay people in the public eye need to quit this march of self-martyrdom. I understand that this story sells more books and will get you as the top news story on ESPN and OutSports, but the reality of the situation is not at all what she has presented it to be. It's a tacky scapegoat that sounds really great in the media. "The Baptist University tried to keep the superstar in the closet." When in reality, she was asked to not talk about it in relation to the basketball game. Why? Because it doesn't matter if you're gay or straight when you're on the court. It matters that you can make the play. So why take the focus off of being on a winning basketball team, one of the best in the country, to talk about the private life of a 22 year old girl?

Michael Sam has been in the news and was awarded at the ESPYs for being a trailblazer. While his coming out was also very calculated, he hasn't spoken ill of his time during college. As a matter of fact, he took the alternate route and has talked about the support he felt when he played football in college and that he's taking that support with him as he embarks on his NFL career this fall. Did he have people who didn't believe in him? Probably. But he's focused on the support.

While these comments from Griner will be but a blip on her career radar, it still irritates me that she took cheap shots at a university that paid for her education, gave her the opportunity to win a national championship and supported her all the way to the draft. Baylor is the alma mater of Olympic gold medalists, professional athletes, Emmy winning actresses and some of the top filmmakers in the country, all of which come back to Baylor to give back to the university that gave them their start. I wish Griner would do the same, rather than making Baylor a scapegoat for a more juicy sound bite to get people to buy her book.

No comments: