NCAA Women's Basketball

Griner comes out, says 'just be who you are'

04/21 8:34 AM

Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, acknowledged Wednesday in interviews that she is gay.

Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in Monday's WNBA draft, acknowledged Wednesday in interviews that she is gay.

Griner, a 6-foot-8, three-time All-America center during an illustrious career at Baylor, said she has previously talked about her sexuality, but this appears to be the first time she's discussed the matter publicly.

In a group interview with SI.com that included Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins, the Nos. 2 and 3 picks in Monday's WNBA draft, the players were asked, in women's sports as opposed to men's, why athletes coming out is accepted.

"I really couldn't give an answer on why that's so different," Griner told SI.com. "Being one that's out, it's just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are."

Griner said it doesn't matter what others might think of her or other gay athletes.

"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," she said.

Griner also was asked by SI.com about the difficulty in coming out considering her stature as a prominent athlete.

"It really wasn't too difficult," she said. "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."

Later, she told espnW: "I've always been really open about my sexuality and who I am. I never thought a big coming out was necessary."

Griner finished her four-year Baylor career as the second all-time scorer in women's NCAA history with 3,283 points. She is the top shot-blocker ever, shattering both the men's and women's college marks with 748. She also had a record 18 dunks -- including 11 this season.

The Associated Press also interviewed Griner, Delle Donne and Diggins, and the topic of bullying was part of the discussion. Griner said she was "picked on for being different" while also acknowledging that she is a lesbian.

"Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything," she told the AP. "I overcame it and got over it. Definitely something that I am very passionate about. I want to work with kids and bring recognition to the problem, especially with the LGBT community."

Griner told USA Today the day of the draft that she's been guided by the advice of her parents, who gave her the courage to open up about being gay.

"My parents didn't know at the time," Griner told the newspaper. "I hadn't come out completely. It was kind of like, you know ... I just hadn't said it. My dad and my mom have always told me, 'Be who you are.' At the time, they probably weren't sure what I was interpreting that as," she said with a laugh.

Information from Kate Fagan of espnW.com was used in this report.


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