Nike signs it’s first openly gay athlete, Brittney Griner
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When Brittney Griner announced to the world that she was a lesbian it created a buzz around the WNBA rookie. Brittney Griner has brought great pride to the LGBT community as she has handled herself well in sharing her coming out story. Recently, the WNBA rookie shared her coming out story and how she wanted to come out during her college career at Baylor but instead remained a closeted lesbian due to pressures of those at Baylor.
In today’s day and age many find it difficult to come out as gay or lesbian. For some they live their lives as heterosexuals in order to please their loved ones and others that are around them instead of being true to themselves. Brittney Griner in a recent interview spoke on wanting to come out publicly during her college days saying:
“It was a recruiting thing. 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 an unwritten law [to not discuss your sexuality] … it was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don’t do it. They kind of tried to make it, like, ‘Why put your business out on the street like that?,’” Brittney said.
Also, the WNBA rookie who has been open about her sexuality with her family and friends since high school had told her former coach at Baylor that she was gay by saying, “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. I mean, my teammates knew, obviously they all knew. Everybody knew about it.”
However, around the Baylor campus Brittney Griner’s sexuality was kept secret for recruiting purposes.
Brittney Griner is not ashamed of she is and after her signing with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury she announced to the sports world that she is a lesbian. Now, the 6’8 foot star has become the first openly gay athlete to sign with Nike and according to details released, Griner will not be modeling sports bras or other women’s clothing. Instead Brittney has signed a deal to endorse men’s clothing, now some have voiced their opinion over this. With some men saying they will never wear what Brittney endorses but truthfully it is not about them nor is it the reason Nike signed Brittney Griner.
Brittney is one of many out lesbians in the WNBA and many women, heterosexual and lesbian who wear androgynous clothing and finally Nike has selected a face to wear such clothing tapping into a market that has not been tapped into.
“I think we need to understand this: not all androgynous men and women want to transform to the opposite sex; choosing not to align with particular gender norms just happens to be their style of choice, and when it comes to Brittney Griner, hers happens to be menswear with a twist. She is still very much a woman, just a woman who decides to adorn her 6’8″ figure with men’s clothing unapologetically and somewhere behind her computer screen is a young woman who is seeking the same outlet.” (Global Grind)
Nike spokesman Brian Strong said, “We can’t get into specifics but it’s safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold.”
“I am 100-percent happy. When I was at Baylor, I wasn’t fully happy because I couldn’t be all the way out. It feels so good saying it: I am a strong, black lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better,” Brittney Griner recently said.
Look for Brittney Griner in the latest issue of ESPN magazine on newsstands now.
-Kelly J Newson