Stanford Swimmer Who Said Coaches Kicked Him Off Team for Being Gay Admits to Drinking

Thursday October 10, 2019

A swimmer for Stanford University who recently made headlines for saying coaches kicked him off the school's swim team because he's gay is now admitting that he broke the National Team's Honor Code by drinking. Nevertheless, he still stands by his initial comments, the college's newspaper The Stanford Daily reports.

Abraham DeVine, who made national headlines last year when he came out as gay, shared a lengthy Instagram post last month in which he said that he was booted off the swim team because of his sexuality.

"Plain and simple: there are surface-level reasons I was kicked off the Stanford swim team, but I can tell you with certainty that it comes down to the fact that I am gay," he wrote.

Though he stands by his remarks, he told The Stanford Daily that his explosion came after he drank at a Team USA swim meet instead of showing support for teammates at a competition. That is a violation of the National Team's Honor Code.

"I think that I wrote this entire Instagram post where every sentence is very important, but the only one that people are really focusing on is me calling out Stanford, and that makes my message sound very aggressive and that I'm out for blood, when in reality that is not what I wanted at all," DeVine told The Stanford Daily. "I'm here to just say this is a systemic issue."

He went on to say that he wanted his post to underscore a homophobic culture within Stanford's team and how it was alienating him from the swimming community. He said one of the reasons he did not support Team USA at the meet was because he felt that neither the coaches nor the athletes respect him and his experiences as an openly gay athlete.

"Between coaches and other athletes, I feel there is so much ignorance to what it means to be gay in a sports world that my character is not recognized," he wrote in a statement to the newspaper. "Although I feel I can participate by being silent and non-disruptive, I feel that my identity as a gay man is incompatible with the swimming world."

Swim coaches at the college released a statement defending the "inclusivity and supportiveness" of Stanford's swimming teams. They also said the decision to kick DeVine off the team had nothing to do with him being gay but did not speak with the school newspaper about the reasons why he was booted.

He also took to Instagram Wednesday to reflect on the past few weeks, saying he's "now working with Stanford Athletics."

1. Why is it that so many gay people resonate with this message? Isn't that alarming? And why are so many (mostly, but not entirely) straight people so quick to dismiss it? This is part of what I touched on when I said 'denial of experience'. All around us gay kids are quitting their sports teams, they are committing suicide, and they are hiding their core identity from the world. We cannot deny that something is going on in a world where 'being gay doesn't matter.'

2. Homophobia is generally understood as an intentional and directed act. If that is your definition, I do not know how to engage you in any sort of meaningful conversation around this issue. I am not a dictionary. We all need to have a shared and elevated vocabulary in order to tackle complex problems. Homophobia is systematic. Period.

3. The 'surface level reasons' I was referring to involved me drinking and breaking the rules of Team USA. I never meant to deny this or cover this up. On the subject of a systematic discrimination, it is juvenile to focus the conversation on the ethics of a 22-year-old getting drunk. A more apt focus might be on why the only gay kid on the team sees no value in the honor code. And, when there are many athletes breaking it every year, why am I the only one being punished by both USA Swimming and Stanford Swimming?

4. To any gay kids reading this, I am sorry. I have always tried to portray a positive image, one where I am included. In reality, I have struggled to justify my participation in swimming for the last two years. I hate to spread this message, but it is my reality. However, being gay is an overwhelmingly amazing experience. It has revealed to me a hidden and beautiful world, so much love, a diverse perspective, and has given me strength beyond what most people can see. Don't let the bs stop you from being proud of who u r

Revisit DeVine's initial post below. Click here to read The Stanford Daily's full report.

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