Top WNBA Pick Brittney Griner Talks About Being ‘Out’ in Pro Sports

Brittney Griner, the former basketball standout at Baylor who on Tuesday saw her amazing basketball skills validated when the Chicago Sky chose her first overall in the WNBA draft, sat down with Sports Illustrated’s Maggie Gray recently to discuss, among things like becoming super-famous and making armfuls of cash-money, why women’s sports seem so much more accepting than men’s sports of “out” athletes.

With the public relations grace of a...well, a professional athlete, Griner sidestepped the controversy-sniffing question, insisting, “I really couldn't give an answer on why” the attitude towards gay athletes is so different in men’s and women’s sports. That’s a thorny question for a newly-minted pro athlete to answer, and Griner, just because she’s out and Mark Cuban thinks she could totally play in the NBA, shouldn’t have the burden of figuring out why men’s sports are simultaneously so homoerotic and so homophobic. Nevertheless, she did manage to provide Gray a pretty honest answer:

Being one that's out, it's just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are. Don't worry about what other people are going to say, because they're always going to say something, but, if you're just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don't hide who you really are."

Maybe the day is coming soon when male athletes in the NFL or NBA can come out without it being a whole media to-do. Until then, women’s leagues like the WNBA are light years ahead in progressive attitudes towards sexuality.

Griner, Delle Donne, Diggins discuss sports and sexuality [Sports Illustrated]

Image via AP, Sue Ogrocki