One of the Women's National Basketball Association's (WNBA) rising stars may have alienated an important section of her sport's fan base after taking a public stance against same-sex marriage.
A three-time All Star forward with the San Antonio Silver Stars, Sophia Young has played professional ball for seven years, according to her WNBA bio. The Silver Stars' leading scorer last year, Young was forced to sit out this season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. Perhaps the time off has given Young the chance to become more vocal politically, as she spoke out on Wednesday against same-sex marriage in San Antonio as the city debates a new LGBT anti-discrimination bill.
Young first took to Twitter on August 28th to voice her opposition to same-sex marriage in San Antonio. (Gay marriage is illegal everywhere in Texas.):
It should be noted that Young appears confused in terms of what legislation San Antonio is actually considering. In fact, the City Council is deciding whether or not to offer nondiscrimination protection for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity within already existing legislation. However, it is not considering legalizing same-sex marriage.
Nevertheless, Young doubled down on her statement later that day with another tweet to fans:
Young did not respond to a Huffington Post request for comment. However her Twitter feed has since included this statement, which could be interpreted as a response to the controversy, as well as an indication that religion may be guiding her political views:
In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post, WNBA President Laurel J. Richie said that while she supports the free speech rights of all her players, she could not condone Young's particular viewpoint.
"Sophia has the right to express her point of view, however, I do not share her view," Richie wrote. "The WNBA supports diversity and we are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all people."
Other WNBA players, however, have been more outspoken. In a tweet directed at Young on August 29th, Seattle Storm star Lauren Jackson expressed shock over her colleague's posts:
The WNBA is actually light years ahead of any other professional American sports league when it comes to progress for gay players and gay fans. While the NFL and NHL are busy talking about the anticipation of a single openly-gay player, the WNBA's 2012 first draft pick, Brittney Griner, came out of the closet, was signed by Nike and was in a massive spread in ESPN magazine when she was drafted.
As it so happens, Griner and Young both attended the same school, Baylor University, albeit a few years apart. Griner has yet to respond to her fellow aluma's comments.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the name of the WBNA's Silver Stars.