Phoenix Mercury’s top pick, WNBA basketball star and out lesbian, Brittney Griner signed with the world-famous athletic corporation, Nike.
Nike is in full support of Griner’s sexual orientation and encourages other athletic stars to come out. “Anyone thinking about becoming the first openly gay athlete in major U.S. team sports “• the company wants him as an endorser,” says openly gay basketball executive, Rick Welts in a report to She Wired.
Nike’s positive support to Griner’s coming out may ease worries that other gay athletes may have about revealing their sexuality. It sends a message to athletes that being openly gay won’t jeopardize a career or prevent athletic endorsements.
The star player, who has been likened to being able to compete in the NBA, said that she has been out for a while, but this was the first time she spoke publicly and openly about being gay to the media.
“It’s just being who you are,” Griner told SI.com. “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 also said that the fact that she’s a famous athlete had no affect on her decision to remain out.
“It really wasn’t too difficult,” Griner said of the decision. “I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. 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.”
Griner, as well as Skylar Diggins and Elena Della Donne, also discussed the topic of bullying growing up.
“Brittney Griner has had to endure more than any player that I’ve ever had to coach,” her coach, Kim Mulkey, told Outsports.com.