Brittney Griner – NBA backlash and women’s sport


Here is a summary of a recent gender discrimination topic to come out of the ol’ US of A:

Who is Brittney Griner?

Griner is a 22 year old 6 ft 8 centre who plays basketball for the Baylor Bears (the taller one in the image above).  Needless to say, she’s quite tall.  She’s also very good at her game. So good in fact that she’s been names AP Player of the year 2012.  And was the first NCAA basketball player ever to score 2,000 points. Oh and the first to ever block 500 shots too.  She’s pretty good.

What’s the fuss about?

Recently Dallas Mavericks’ (a male basketball team) owner, Mark Cuban was quoted at saying he’d draft Griner if she made try outs.  He insinuated a woman could play in a man’s game and consequently  in his own self promotion, opened a massive can of discriminatory worms.  And they seem to have gone everywhere.

What did those discriminatory worms say?

Many different things, but they split themselves into two main categories, with one group showing a wide level of different sub species.

1) In saying this Cuban has managed to put down the WNBA in an act that could be translated as Griner having too much talent to merely be playing in a woman’s game and should go where the real sport is.  He may not have meant this at all, but its definitely an easy conclusion to draw.

2) Cuban’s comment then let Griner be open to a full torrent of abuse through the brave man’s form of communication, Twitter.  The hashtag #GrinerNBA trended like flares did in the 70’s and produced a mixture of homophobic, sexist, transphobic and down right nasty comments aimed at the 22 year old woman.    Although this late in the day most of the comments are along the lines of ‘this is ridiculous self promotion for Cuban, let’s just ignore it’ or ‘I think she could do it‘, here’s a few of my choice favourites (it will make your skin crawl):

‘#GrinerNBA would it be sexual harassment when she gets t-bagged by Lebron and friends?’  (Yes, yes it would @wasgoodfoo)

‘#GrinerNBA she would get raped. Not a chance’

‘If the mavs draft Brittany griney she may lose her virginity #grinernba #teamwhore

And this doesn’t even cover the ‘she’s a man/she’s a weak girl/she’s got to be a man/girls can’t play in a men’s game/she must be gay’ comments.

There’s also a lot of support out there, a lot of scientific reasoning and a lot of levelheadedness, but the fact that people think it appropriate to send messages into the public domain about a woman who may dare to take on a man’s game is pretty mind blowing.


Pic from (thanks!)

The only reason I even know who Brittney Griner is is due to this article on the Guardian which in some ways looks a bit similar to this one. I just had to include the tweets for myself to make sure there were actually people that vile out there.



One comment

  1. I was aware of this story through the ESPNw site but didn’t know about the ‘Guardian’ article. One of the comments is by Dave Zirnan whose ‘Edge of Sports’ site is often worth a look although a lot of American stuff does get a bit lost in translation sometimes. As to the other comments….free speech notwithstanding, I would have thought some of it was open to proscecution if they were able to find out who put it there, as has happened here with Tom Daley etc.

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