Former Baylor center and openly gay female athlete, Brittney Griner is tired of hiding who she is. Griner taken at No.1 by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Draft in April is ready to show her true self.
Kate Fagan profiled Griner for ESPN and dug deep to discuss the athlete's experience with bullies, her new sponsorship deal with Nike and how she was only part of herself while playing at Baylor.
Since coming out, Griner said she has faced a lot of scrutiny from cyber-bullies and trolls intent upon putting her down.
"Reading what people say makes me want to be me even more," Griner said.
Griner is not unaccustomed to being bullied. Growing up she was constantly tormented by her peers, as she struggled with her sexual identity and orientation.
“A girl would come up and grope at her flat chest, calling to the other kids: "See? Nothing!" Then the instigator would turn to Brittney and say those familiar words: "What are you?" Humiliation would morph into anger, and Griner would push the girl,” Fagan recounts in her profile of the star center.
While at Baylor Griner struggled to be who she was, mostly because of the University’s anti-homosexuality policy.
"When I was at Baylor, I wasn't fully happy because I couldn't be all the way out,” Griner recalled, “It feels so good saying it: I am a strong, black lesbian woman.”
Since leaving Baylor, Griner has been climbing to success. Not only was she drafted by the Mercury as the first pick, but she already has an interesting deal with Nike.
“Nike is hoping Griner's marketing clout will transcend the court … sponsorship deals start at $5,000 a year, and only a handful of WNBA players earn more, with $15,000 considered big money," the story read. "Griner's deal is within this range … She will wear apparel branded as menswear, including the skateboarding line Nike SB.”
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