Brittney Griner, the Baylor University basketball star and top pick of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury made news last month when she came out publicly as lesbian. She said that she had never really been in the closet and that people at Baylor knew. Griner now says that Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey, while aware of her star's sexual orientation, did not want it being discussed fearing it would hurt recruiting.
"It was a recruiting thing," Griner said during an interview with ESPN The Magazine and espnW. "The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn't let their kids come play for Baylor."
"It was more of a unwritten law [to not discuss your sexuality] ... it was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don't do it," Griner said Friday. "They kind of tried to make it, like, 'Why put your business out on the street like that?'"
But Griner reiterated on Friday that her sexuality was an open secret at Baylor.
"I told Coach [Mulkey] when she was recruiting me. I was like, 'I'm gay. I hope that's not a problem,' and she told me that it wasn't," Griner said. "I mean, my teammates knew, obviously they all knew. Everybody knew about it."
Mulkey would not comment to ESPN about what Griner said, but the story sheds more light on interview Outsports had with the coach at last year's ESPY's. Here is how Cyd described his interview with Mulkey:
When I asked her about having lesbians on her team, she recoiled. I took it at the time as a woman in sports who had been asked the question so many times, she was tired of hearing it. But once a conversation developed, she opened up.
Outsports: Have you ever had a gay player on your team?
Kim Mulkey: Don't ask me that. I don't ask that. I don't think it's anybody's business. Whoever you are. I don't care to know that.
Outsports: So it doesn't matter to you?
I don't think Cyd asked Mulkey the question with Griner in mind. He was at the ESPY's asking any athlete and coach he could what they thought about gays in sports in general. But it now seems clear that Mulkey must have thought he was asking about Griner, based on her reaction.