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By: Julianne Caponigro

Brittney Griner, a phenomenal women’s basketball star, spoke out about her sexuality in an interview with Maggie Gray for Sports illustrated after she was selected number one overall in the 2013 Woman’s Nation Basketball Association draft.

Elena Delle Donne the number two draft pick and Skylar Diggins, the number three pick of this year’s WNBA draft were both involved in the interview and they both discuss sexuality in the sports world:

Shortly into the interview, Gray asked Griner began discussing the difference between men and women sports figures coming out. Griner’s comments on the topic revealed details about her own sexual orientation:

I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different. Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are. 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.

Homosexuality in sports, particularly in football, has been a controversial topic of discussion this year. The topic blew up in January, when the San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver sparked a debate when he made a statement, “No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.” Many other NFL players have made it perfectly clear that they disagree with his comments on the topic, as players such as Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe have openly supported and been allies for gay marriage.

More recently, UCLA head football coach Jim Mora was featured in the university’s “You can Play” video which is a message that encourages openly gay athletes to play on Bruins sports teams.

Earlier this month, the NHL announced a new measure to support gay athletes as well.

These steps forward are monumental. The interview from Griner, whose comments are simple courageous, is another step forward for the gay community.

Griner is arguably the most dominant player in women’s college basketball history and is considered a role model to young girls all over the country. Everything she does is magnified and seen by millions so by her speaking up, a large step forward has been made for the gay community.

Her courage and self-confidence on the topic is an inspiration to her young followers and will undoubtedly lead to good things for the gay community in the sports world.

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