Brittney Griner: University basketball coach told me not to come out

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Recently out, openly lesbian US basketball star Brittney Griner, has spoken out to say that her college basketball coaches asked her not to come out, in case it damaged the reputation of the team for prospective recruits.

Griner came out as gay last month, and offered advice for young women looking up to her to “just be who you are”, and not worry about what other people might be thinking.

She has now spoken to ESPN, to say that coaches at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she played before being drafted by the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) asked her not to come out.

“It was a recruiting thing,” Griner told espnW. “The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor.

“It was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don’t do it. They kind of tried to make it, like, ‘Why put your business out on the street like that?'”

When coming out, Griner did not make an official announcement, saying she did not want to make a big deal about the fact that she is a lesbian, however referred to her sexuality when it was relevant to the topic of discussion during interview.

Dispelling the idea that openly gay sports people find it difficult to find sponsorship, she has now signed an endorsement deal with Nike. The deal was confirmed on USA today by Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s sports agent.

The 22-year-old described the deal as “big time.”

Speaking at the GLAAD Awards last week, Griner, a new Phoenix Mercury player recalled her own coming out, saying hers was not a big issue, but accepted that it would be for others.