Mercury’s Griner talks sexuality in sports to SI

The topic of sexuality in sports has been a hot one lately, and it’s sure to continue being a hot one, as Brittney Griner’s fueled the fire even more after coming out and declaring herself a lesbian.

After being selected No. 1 by the Phoenix Mercury in Monday’s WNBA Draft, Griner – along with fellow top picks Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins – sat down with Sports Illustrated for an interview, and the topic of sexuality in sports came up, to which Griner spoke about quite candidly.

“I really couldn’t give an answer on why. It’s just so different,” Griner said when talking about why female athletes are more open about their sexuality than their male counterparts.

“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.”

Griner said her status as both an athlete and a celebrity didn’t make it any harder to declare her sexual orientation.

“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.”

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey talked to outsports.com back in March about the level of criticism Griner has received from fans about her sexuality.

“I’m always disappointed when fans take it to a personal level,” Mulkey said. “I love fans who are vocal, I love fans that are into their team. I love created fans that do chants and say things that aren’t hurtful. When you take it to a personal level, it’s not right. Brittney has heard more than her fair share of what I would consider personal taunts.”

“Brittney Griner has had to endure more than any player that I’ve ever had to coach,” Mulkey continued.