- (PHOTO:REUTERS/Tim Sharp)
Brittney Griner, the former women's basketball star from Baylor University, said that her coach Kim Mulkey asked players not to discuss their sexuality. The coach from the private Christian university said discussion of homosexuality could hurt recruiting at the school, who marketed their program as family-friendly and wholesome.
Brittney Griner, who says she has always been openly gay with family, friends and teammates, told Coach Mulkey when she was being recruited about her sexual preferences. Griner and teammates were told to keep their choices private.
"It was a recruiting thing," the women's basketball superstar told ESPN The Magazine in an interview. "The coaches though that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn't let their kids come play for Baylor."
"It was more of an unwritten law [to not discuss] your sexuality] … it was just kind of, like … you know, just don't do it," she continued. "They kind of tried to make it, like, 'Why put your business out on the street like that?'"
Although Baylor University officials declined to comment on the practice, only mentioning Griner's "incredible legacy," their "Statement on Human Sexuality" found in the student handbook is very clear about the school's stance. It reminds students that sex outside of marriage and homosexuality are "contrary to biblical teaching."
Despite the school's established stance, various media outlets took issue with the Baylor coach's suggestion.
Yahoo! sportswriter Jeff Eisenberg called it "a sad testament to the pervasiveness of homophobia in America," while Patrick Rishe of Forbes called it "the economics of suppression" and her sexual orientation "harmless."
However, readers of the story challenged their narrative, pointing out that the small Waco, Texas school is a private Baptist university and allowed their own standards for student conduct.
"They're a private christian college. She didn't have to go there," Alex McDonald wrote on the ESPN blog. "It's important to a christian school to maintain christian values or else what's the point?"
"The Baptist faith believes and teaches that homosexuality and premarital sexual relations are wrong. The school obviously echoes these beliefs. Compassion and not tolerating sin are not synonymous, Christ loved all but did not condone their mistakes," another user agreed.
Others felt that the discussion of athletes' sexuality isn't something that belongs in sports.
"Even as a gay person, I still can't stand all these people thinking they need to make a media announcement about their sexuality," wrote Blah on Yahoo!
Griner waited until after leaving Baylor to announce her sexuality, although she said "everybody knew about it" already. The Lady Bears star was drafted as the no.1 pick by the Lady Mercury of the WNBA this year.