In a week of tragedy, chaos and insanity (seriously, let’s not have another week like that in a long time), let’s end on a high note. We had a nice respite thanks to our friends in New Zealand mid-week. And now we’ll finish off with who will surely be your newest crush: Brittney Griner. Granted, she’s not new to many people – what with her being a record-setting career at Baylor University, her NCAA Champion in 2012 and her status as the No. 1 pick in the WNBA this year. Brittney is the second most leading all-time scorer in women’s college basketball, with 3,283 points, and the best shot blocker in college basketball ever, both for men and women, with 748 blocks. She can also dunk. And, oh yeah, she is gay.
After being selected as the top WNBA draft pick by the Phoenix Mercury on Monday, Brittney sat down with some of her fellow top draftees and spoke to ESPN Wednesday night. And in that interview, she casually, confidently came out publicaly. And you have to believe if she hadn’t attended a staunchly Christian university like Baylor, she would have come out a lot sooner, too. Now, there are and have been other out players in the WNBA, including Seimone Augustus, Sheryl Swoopes and Chamique Holdsclaw. But Brittney is the very first to come out at the very start of her professional career. Before the big money endorsements and jersey sales roll in. And this, this matters. It matters because as much progress as we’ve made toward equality, both in the court of public opinion and real courts, sports remains a sad stronghold of homophobia where few venture out of the locker room closet. The amount of internal (and external, ugh Chris Cullivers of the world) resistance to out gay athletes is still palpable. So coming out in professional sport, it makes a difference. Of course each person who comes out, athlete or not, makes a difference. But there can be only one crush each weekend. And this week it goes to the lady who just dunked her way out of the closet. All that, and she is a snazzy dresser. Love the bowtie. Happy weekend, all.