All Rights reserved
An elite athlete claims "with certainty" he was booted from the Stanford University swim team for being gay.
Abrahm DeVine -- a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association champion in the 400-meter individual medley -- opened up about the "homophobic aspects of the athletic culture" he experienced at the top-tier California school in a Monday Instagram post.
"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," DeVine stated. "This is a pattern. Homophobia is systematic, intelligently and masterfully designed to keep me silent and to push me out."
DeVine, 23, first came out publicly to Swimming World in 2018 during his senior year at Stanford. "I'm a gay athlete. There aren't too many of us, so when I came out to my college team, that was a really tough time for me," DeVine told the sports magazine at the time.
DeVine graduated from Stanford in May and is currently training in San Diego with Team Elite Aquatics, which prepares athletes for the Olympics -- so it is unclear what he means about being "kicked off" the swim team.
However, in his Instagram post, DeVine spoke candidly about what he perceived as well-meaning but ineffectual coaches and peers. "Everyone says they support me, and yet, for the millionth time, I am the only one speaking up," DeVine wrote. "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?"
DeVine concluded his post with a plea for change regarding homophobia in the sports world. "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," he wrote.
In a statement released Tuesday on Twitter, coaches Dan Schemmel and Greg Meeham denied Devine's allegations of an antigay culture. "It is truly unfortunate Abe feels this way," the statement began. "Abe wasn't invited back to train with us this fall, as a postgraduate, for reasons entirely unrelated to his sexuality."
"We take pride in the inclusivity and supportiveness that exists on both our men's and women's teams, but we will continue to strive, as always, to improve those aspects of our culture."
In addition to his NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019, DeVine also represented the U.S. at the FINA World Championships in 2017 and 2019. Read his post below.