NCAA Champion Abrahm DeVine Calls Out Stanford Swim and Dive Team For Treating Him Unfairly For His Sexuality

abrahm-devine-
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Two-time NCAA Champion Abrahm DeVine publicly called out the Stanford swimming and diving team in an Instagram post for treating him unfairly as a gay man. DeVine publicly came out as gay in 2018 during his senior year at Stanford.

Now, he is saying he was treated poorly over the last four years by the Stanford swimming and diving team for being gay.

“Everyone says they support me, and yet, for the millionth time, I am the only one speaking up. To my coaches who sport the pride flag on their desk, to the athletes who liked my pride photo on Instagram, I need you to wake up to what’s happening around you. How can you say you support me and my equality? How can you not see how Stanford Swim has treated me and used me over the last 4 years?

“Am I invisible? Plain and simple: there are surface level reasons I was kicked off the Stanford swim team, but I can tell you with certainty it comes down to the fact that I’m gay. This is a pattern. Homophobia is systematic: intelligently and masterfully designed to keep me silent and to push me out.”

DeVine graduated in May and finished out his senior year as an NCAA champion, so it is unclear what he meant by saying he was “kicked off the Stanford swim team.” He is now training in San Diego with Team Elite and David Marsh.

Stanford swimming and diving has since issued a statement on DeVine’s post.

DeVine won two NCAA titles in the 400 IM in 2018 and 2019 and also represented the United States at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, as well as the 2018 Pan Pacs. He was tenth in the 200 IM at the 2017 Worlds and was eighth this past summer in 2019 in the same event.

He wrote a lengthy Instagram post which can be read in full below:

View this post on Instagram

As many of you know, I’m an openly gay swimmer and I am the only one at my level. I want to use this post to call out some of the homophobia that I’ve experienced being an athlete, and encourage everyone to be thoughtful and intentional about changing some of the homophobic aspects of the athletic culture that exists today. While I have many specific examples of micro aggressions and outright aggressions that I’ve experienced, homophobia is ultimately much more than an accumulation of experiences. In fact, it is a denial of experience. While I feel like I’ve tried to convey this to many people, many of whom deny any possibility that they contribute it, I’ve started to ask myself: Why is it my job to educate coaches and athletes at the most resourceful university in the world? I cannot continue to try to engage people in this conversation when there is so much fragility to obscure my humanity and character, so much rhetoric to keep me silent. Everyone says they support me, and yet, for the millionth time, I am the only one speaking up. To my coaches who sport the pride flag on their desk, to the athletes who liked my pride photo on Instagram, I need you to wake up to what’s happening around you. How can you say you support me and my equality? How can you not see how Stanford Swim has treated me and used me over the last 4 years? Am I invisible? 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. This is a pattern. Homophobia is systematic, intelligently and masterfully designed to keep me silent and to push me out. I am a talented, successful, educated, proud, gay man: I am a threat to the culture that holds sports teams together. I want something to change, because I can’t take it anymore. My story is not unique. There are queer voices everywhere and all you have to do is listen. I am asking, begging for some sort of action. If you are reading this, this post is for you! Gay or straight, swimmer or not. None of us are exempt from homophobia. It is your civil duty to educate yourself. If you choose not to, it is at my expense.

A post shared by Abrahm DeVine (@abrahmdevine) on

22 comments

  1. Laura Profumo Kleinschmidt

    Stanford’s head diving coach is an openly gay man, so systemic homophobia seems hard to believe.

    • avatar
      Justin Wright

      This sounds like a version of the “We have a *insert non-white race* guy on our team. It’s impossible that any of us could be racist” argument.

    • Danny Wong

      Laura Profumo Kleinschmidt Stanford is one of the most liberal colleges in the US.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Liberals can be homophobes, and bias is often felt by the receiver in subtle and powerful ways , and this can be incredibly damaging, maybe even more so than overt bias, because it is not perceived by the casual observer. Also, homophobia is not just limited to straight people, there is bias and homophobia in the gay community as well. Do not judge another person’s truth.

  2. Jessica Moses Carver

    Stop bringing sexuality into sports period…no one gives a crap what you are…other athletes aren’t running around telling everyone they are “straight.” Guy is looking for a pity party to me.

    • avatar
      Robert

      I beg to differ to those that say that sexuality in sports doesn’t matter. Although we don’t know the facts of this case, sexuality does matter. In a straight world, and especially in sports where many gay athletes feel like they can’t be who they really are, it DOES matter. Just like in the military, teams depend on each other, and when you can’t be who you really are, there is no equality.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Aside from a single interview (from what I can recall) in which a single question addressed his sexuality, Abe has never, “Ran around telling everyone he is gay”. When it comes to mentioning homosexuality in swimming people love to throw around phrases like, “Who cares about what he does in the bedroom” “Don’t report this non-sense, we only want to hear about swimming” “What does ones sexuality have to do with ones career”. I have never seen that same energy come up in regards to reporting heterosexuality.

      In addition, what makes you dispute the claim as a pity party? If a person is discriminated against for any reason, it should be taken seriously.

    • avatar
      Keith

      You a bad person. Every swimmer counts.

  3. David Hosler

    Does the stopwatch time differently for Gay swimmers? I thought not

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Where did you read that a stopwatch was discriminating against him?

  4. Tim Manley

    I didn’t know swimming world magazine still existed. We need positive spotlight on sports, not on pot stirrers!

    • avatar
      Craig Lord

      Tim, we’re a news organisation not a PR organ for what you or anyone else considers to be a “positive spotlight” while calling a swimmer and situation you know nothing about a “pot stirrer”. Regardless of where right and wrong may rest in the matter at the heart of this article and follow-ups [https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/stanford-swimming-and-diving-issues-statement-on-abrahm-devine-comments/], “positive spotlight” also includes highlighting people and athlete welfare, practices good and bad. Thanks for your surface comment. I urge you to seek deeper understanding.

  5. avatar
    Todd

    Shame on SW for posting this nonsense. He is a great swimmer but sure sounds like an indoctrinated snowflake. No mention of what actually happened.
    And when I see nonsense words like microaggressions I just don’t take them seriously.

    • avatar
      Craig Lord

      Shame on you for labelling anyone an ‘indoctrinated snowflake’ when you don’t even know them or the circumstances in play … ‘what happened’ is a legitimate question … one that SW has put to the swimmer.

  6. avatar
    Dan

    Please continue your excellent reporting of swimming at all levels. Thank you.

  7. avatar
    Stew

    Look, I think everyone can admit that homophobic micro-aggressions exist in sports, including swimming. Taking those to heart and allowing those to bother you just shows thin skin. Sports are hard, and people are cruel. Outright aggression should be reported to the proper authorities, not your coach.

    But I think the kicker here that damages his argument is claiming he was”kicked-off” the Standard swimming team has no merit due to his recent graduation. Anyone who swam in college knows the difference between getting “kicked off” the college team vs. graduating and being on the club team, but the court of public appeal wouldn’t have the faintest clue to the difference. This is clear factual evidence that he likes to obfuscate the truth to meet the goal of currying favor with the court of public appeals. The NCAA isn’t investigating this because it doesn’t fall under Title IX.

    If this was his M.O. for every little issue, I would have not re-invited him back. Managing everyone’s petty problems that they should be adult enough to manage on their own, regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation is just something most adults are not interested in.

    Once he rectifies his misleading statements to the public, and provides proof for his claims then I am more willing to listen to his argument.

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