When Brittney Griner, the first pick in this year’s WNBA draft, mentioned to SI.com last month that she’s a lesbian, it wasn’t a huge coming-out moment for anyone who knew her, because she’d been open about her sexuality since her freshman year of high school. It might have been a surprise to anyone who was only familiar with her college career, though, because she was on strict orders from Baylor University to keep quiet about it.
“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.”
“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.”
A private, Baptist university, Baylor has rules about “purity” and proper behavior and “sexual misconduct,” which clearly indicate that Griner’s extra-extracurricular activities during high school don’t fit in with their Good Christian Values.
Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.
They specify that “[m]isuse of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts.” Baylor says they will “strive to deal in a constructive and redemptive manner with all who fail to live up to this high standard,” which I’m guessing involves wind sprints or tip drills or something. (“Griner! Gay again?! You know the drill — ten laps!”)
So the university knew when they recruited Griner that she was a misuser of God’s gift. And they easily could have said, “What? Oh, sorry, no — we actually have a whole policy about that.” But instead, they said, “Wait, a 6’8” dominating center with more blocked shots than any other high-school girl in the country? You could be useful to us! Just don’t make us look bad with all the, y’know, lesbianity. Here’s your scholarship; now shut up and post up, sinner.”