FORT WORTH, Texas - The Google machine is a wonderful device to spread meanness as its vast empty space is the ideal location to spew hate with the luxury of hiding behind a fake name. Feelings be damned.
It's all "well and good" until you see the face of the person on the receiving end, in this case Baylor senior women's basketball player Brittney Griner. There has not been an athlete who has been on the receiving end of so much meanness in recent years as much as Griner, and it's all because she violates the unpardonable sin of not being hot.
There is not a bigger sin in sports a woman can commit than not looking like a cover candidate for Vogue. It's OK to be gay now, but for the love of God please be pretty.
Rather than offer some shallow judgement on her appearance just appreciate what she is - the best player her sport has ever had and an inspiration for tall young girls. She is, as TCU coach Jeff Mittie said, the "Wilt Chamberlain" of women's basketball, and worth the price to watch in person.
On Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Griner came to Fort Worth to play the Horned Frogs and I wanted to see what the fuss is all about with Brittney Griner. What I saw was a woman's basketball player who is not a man. Watching her play in person and then considering that idea is as preposterous as it is cruel.
If she just looked like Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Swoopes or Becky Hammon no one would be saying a thing other than commenting on her greatness. Swoopes was the most dominant player on her generation, and no one whispered about her gender.
What I saw was a young woman who very likely has been picked on for forever because of her height, and the resulting meanness has likely scarred her.
As to the name-calling and the meanness, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said that has slowed down.
"We've controlled it more. I've controlled it better as a coach," Mulkey said. "Any time I hear something as a coach I have made a committment that I'm going to stop the game. I'm going to call a time out, or get security. There is no place for that. It has gotten so much better."
Now in her fourth year at Baylor, Griner is used to this. All of it. Good or bad.
Griner is accustomed to the double and triple teams, as well as the thousands who show up consistently to see Baylor play specifically because of her.
"I would say I'm kinda used to it," she said after Baylor defeated TCU on Wednesday night. "Sometimes I'm surprised a litlte bit. I just try to play as hard as I can and don't disappoint them."
She didn't; Griner dunked for the ninth time in her career on Wednesday night.
We have seen good and dominant women's basketball players before, but we have never seen a 6-foot-8, athletic woman who is blessed with good eye-hand coordination. That is what makes her so special.
"I never take that child for granted," Mulkey said. "I've never seen it before and I don't know if we'll ever see it again."
WATCH GRINER'S DUNK HERE -
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