Sunday, May 19, 2013

Closet Consistency

Thank you for not being yourself
Leading off the World Wide Lemur today, the revelation that Brittney Griner, the top WNBA pick who came out publicly to the yawns of a nation, was told to keep it quiet while at Baylor University by her coach.

That this is news is slightly more surprising then the actual news itself, but it also speaks to the following points.

First, that the idea that having the best player in women's basketball isn't effective for recruiting, unless that star is also closeted.

Second, that Baylor doesn't seem to care very much about its own anti-gay standards, once it comes to recruiting people who it wants to play on its teams.

The relevant passages, from the school's student handbook, labels homosexuality as "sexual misconduct", and equates it with infidelity. Here's the money quote:

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.

(We'll leave alone the idea that there's one kind of Biblical teaching, and that said teaching hates the gays, since it's something of a lost cause to try to convince anyone that the Bible can be taught in more than the way that reactionary conservatives believe in. Or that eons-old passages, that have been rewritten over and over again and sound like gay bashing, probably have more to do with prohibiting pedophilia, and that it's fine to ignore the anti-shrimp and mixed clothing strictures that appear right next to said strictures. Anyway, moving on.)

Now, I don't have an issue with Baylor having this on the books. It's not a requirement for a business -- and colleges, as anyone who has ever stared down the barrel of a tuition bill, are nothing more than that -- to play nice on these matters.

But what is a requirement is this: you should not be able to play both sides of the street and get paid for it.

So if Baylor wants to keep this on the books, they should vacate any wins or honors from the Griner Era (since, well, Griner is presumed to have been a Baylor student at the time that she came out of the closet). They should fire the coach who, according to Griner, downplayed the school's guidelines by telling her that being gay wasn't a problem, just so long as she kept it quiet). They should forfeit any upcoming games against players that have out athletes, since that could also be seen as indirectly endorsing the "misconduct."

After all, fair's fair. If gay students can't be allowed to be gay in public at Baylor, then Baylor shouldn't be allowed to profit from the actions of people they believe to be engaging in destructive conduct. Or to condone said conduct just so long as you hide it.

And while we're at this for students... why not coaches? And professors, teaching assistants, administrators, janitors, support personnel, food service workers...

But that's not what happened, of course. Instead, this:

When asked Saturday to comment on Griner's recruiting remarks, Baylor referred to a statement it issued to ESPN The Magazine and espnW on behalf of Mulkey earlier this month. The coach declined to comment specifically, but said in the statement: "Brittney Griner represented Baylor University proudly on and off the basketball court, and she leaves behind an incredible legacy. I cannot comment on personal matters surrounding any of our student-athletes, but I can tell you Brittney will always be a celebrated member of the Baylor family."

So... Baylor celebrates people who flaunt its rules, provided they leave behind incredible athletic legacies. Makes about as much sense as telling gay people to just not be gay, really...

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