Thursday, April 18, 2013

Around The Nation

Top WNBA Draft Pick To Lesbian Girls- 'Be who you are.'
Brittney Griner  * File Photo
HOUSTON, TX -- Standing 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall, and wearing a men's US size 18 shoe with an arm span of 86" Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury's 2013 WNBA number one Draft Pick, is an impressive figure both on and off the court, particularly with all the girls and young women who idolize her.
Principally because Griner likes to remind all those girls and young women who idolize her to just be themselves and not worry what others think. She should know as she never makes a big deal out of the fact that she is a lesbian, making no big coming-out announcement as she was selected by the Mercury. But as numerous sportswriters made note of as well, Griner does not hide from the topic either when it was pertinent to the issues being discussed. 
Griner, who was a rising star at Baylor University, is the first NCAA basketball player ever to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. Last year, the three-time All-American was named the Associated Press Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
In a pre-draft interview with USA Today on Monday, Griner brought it up herself while crediting her parents for always encouraging her to be herself no matter what cruel things people were saying about her.
"My parents didn't know at the time," she said. "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."
During an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday, she discussed it in the context of being bullied as a child.
“It was hard, just being picked on for being different, hust being bigger, my sexuality, everything,” she said. “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 and fellow recent WNBA draftees Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins were also interviewed by Sports Illustrated's Maggie Gray, who asked why it's more accepted to be a gay athlete in women's sports than men's.
"I really couldn't give an answer on why that's so different. Being one that's out, it's just being who you are," Griner said. "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." 
Gray then asked Griner if her status as a famous athlete made it any more difficult to come out.
"It really wasn't too difficult, I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that," Griner said. "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."