In recent years, there have been many breakthroughs for gay athletes in professional sports. The most notable being Michael Sam landing a spot on the Rams' team to become the first gay athlete in America’s most popular sports league.
However, one of the greatest steps happened last week in the WNBA, when star Brittney Griner proposed to her girlfriend, Glory Johnson, who also happens to be a WNBA star.
The WNBA has been known for its fair share of lesbian athletes, but they have historically stuck to dating people outside of the league. Now, one of the most exciting female basketball players is getting ready to wed another player in the league.
This news is awesome for so many reasons: It’s not only huge for the gay and lesbian community, but also makes the WNBA a little more enticing to watch.
Say what you must about the WNBA and the quality of ball they play, but I know I'm not alone in wanting to see a couple of newlyweds going back and forth during a regular season, or better yet, a playoff game.
Picture this scenario: There are 15 seconds left in the game and Johnson’s Tulsa Shock are down two points to Griner’s Mercury. Johnson gets the ball on the baseline and thinks she has an open lane. She goes in for the layup and out of nowhere, her wife, Griner, comes in and blocks her shot to secure the win for her team.
Afterward, Griner’s sure to have fun in the locker room with her teammates, but what’s dinner with Johnson going to be like after that? It’ll probably be just as awkward as the Harbaugh family thanksgiving after John beat Jim in the Super Bowl.
On top of making some WNBA games more interesting to watch, the announcement of this wedding is monumental for the gay and lesbian community, as professional sports leagues are a place where this demographic is very underrepresented.
Brittney Griner is probably the most dominant player in women’s basketball. Sexual orientation not only proved to be a non-issue in her transition from a stand-out college star to becoming the first overall pick in the draft, but also in her team becoming one of the best in the league.
She's able to excel at what she does and now she's found another person who makes her very happy and with whom she wishes to spend her life. If you ask me, it sounds like Brittney Griner is living the dream, and I could not be happier for her and Glory Johnson.
This announcement of their engagement should be motivation to other gay athletes out there. These two women highlight that it is very possible to be a gay athlete and also have thriving personal and professional lives.
I hope the acceptance and support that these two have received can spread to other athletes in other leagues and even on the collegiate level. Who knows, maybe in a few years' time, we will have quarterbacks taking the field opposite their linebacker husbands.
Whatever does happen, I wish the best to these two women, both on and off the court.
Top Photo Courtesy: Instagram