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Griner fights back against bullying in new memoir

Samantha Isdale/Sports Columnist

Samantha Isdale/Sports Columnist

We look at celebrities and professional athletes and think they have it all. They have the wealth, big houses, fancy cars and most would assume absolute happiness. That’s not always the case; not all of them have lived picture perfect, happy lives. The WNBA’s number one pick and 23-year-old Brittney Griner wrote a memoir entitled “In My Skin: My life on and off the basketball court.”

Griner opened up about her life and how difficult growing up was for her. She was bullied and teased from middle school through high school, and the pain still runs deep. Griner was considering not continuing the memoir before it was published. She was afraid of reliving all of her old memories. Who could blame her?

In her book she also talks about her time at Baylor University and her struggles with the administration’s policy against homosexuality. She didn’t openly talk about her sexual orientation until she left Baylor.

Griner said she wanted to write this memoir to help other kids who are going through, or have gone through bullying like she did.

“I felt that if I did it, maybe I could help someone else who was in school right now and having a very hard time,” Griner told Liz Granderson of ESPN.com.

Not only did Griner launch her memoir, she is also promoting a new smart phone app that helps to provide resources to school officials who are unsure how to help these victims. This is something that was very close to Griner’s heart.

“The one question I would ask my teachers is, ‘Why?’” Griner told Granderson, as her voice was starting to shake. “‘Why didn’t you do anything to try to stop what was happening to me? Why didn’t you do anything to help me or any of the other kids who were being bullied every day?’”

She wondered if maybe her teachers weren’t sure how to help. But it’s totally unacceptable for teachers and adults to let bullying continue if they know it’s happening, even if they’re not sure how to help; doing something is better than nothing.  Allowing bullying to occur right under your nose causes kids and teens to grow up living with anxiety and depression, and it lingers with them as they become adults.

The fact that Griner is able to share her story is incredible. It cannot be easy, to say the least. It is pathetic how many cold-hearted people still attack her and find it necessary to post cruel remarks about her via social media.

“I remember thinking once I got to college I would finally be free,” Griner said. “And then I get there and I had to stay hidden. My teammates didn’t have a problem with me being gay, but the school did. It was crazy.”

Griner’s book is a way for her to explain to people that being who you are is so much better than trying to please others. A passage in her book explains that over the years she has come to realize that some people will never understand her, and she has accepted that.

With her book, she hopes to reach other young people who have felt hopeless and alone before like she has. I can’t sit here and say that I know exactly how Griner feels, because I don’t. But I can say that I look forward to reading her book and empathizing with what she’s gone through.

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