Last week, two-time NCAA champion swimmer Abrahm DeVine shared a lengthy message on his Instagram addressing homophobia he said he experienced as an openly gay athlete at Stanford University.
DeVine, who graduated from the university this year but is continuing to take classes, accused the Stanford Swim coaching staff of removing him from the Stanford swim team because of his sexuality.
“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,” wrote DeVine.
The coaching staff of Stanford Swim issued a statement refuting DeVine’s claims and added that the athlete wasn’t being allowed to train with the team “for reasons entirely unrelated to his sexuality.”
The Stanford Daily is now reporting DeVine’s “expulsion came after he drank at a Team USA swim meet instead of showing up to support his teammates who were competing, a violation of the National Team’s Honor Code.”
The Daily also makes a point to clarify that DeVine wasn’t kicked off the swim team but was “barred from the University’s pro-training group after finishing his collegiate career.”
DeVine told the Daily that while he stands by his Instagram post, he feels people focused on just one aspect of the essay and not his main point.
“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 said. “I’m here to just say this is a systemic issue.”
DeVine says his message was meant to highlight what he feels is a homophobic environment on the Stanford team and to “call out” the homophobia he says he experienced.
During his time on the Stanford swim team, DeVine recalls coaches attempting to motivate swimmers by appealing to “masculine stereotypes,” and when he tried to explain why he felt excluded from the team as a gay athlete, the coaching staff would “get defensive and unwilling to listen to him.”
DeVine came out in an interview with Swimming World magazine in September of 2018.
At the time, he told the magazine he felt his teammates and coaches “received the news warmly” and expressed regret that he had struggled with deciding to come out to them.
“I remember that being a pretty emotional time, and just feeling my whole team wrap around me and feeling that love in a place where I hadn’t really felt it, that was definitely pretty special for me,” DeVine said. “Just seeing them kind of prove me wrong was definitely special, something I’ll never forget.”