Sue Bird came out as gay in an espnW piece that was published on Thursday. It also included the fact that she’s dating soccer star and United States Women’s National Team hero Megan Rapinoe. A private, quiet superstar in the WNBA, Bird opened up in the piece that addresses Bird’s sexuality with a quote from her partner.
“She just has this way of expressing her opinion: She doesn’t shut anybody off when she speaks. I could probably work on that a little,” says Seattle Reign and U.S. national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who has been dating Bird since last fall.
And Bird is OK with this being known. She has been out to her family and friends for many years — telling them soon after her pro career began in Seattle after she was the WNBA’s No. 1 pick in 2002 out of UConn — but she hadn’t publicly confirmed it before.
Bird said it was time to finally tell the larger world what most of her family had known for more than a decade, saying that “These aren’t secrets to people who know me.”
The piece touches on how others in the WNBA have dealt with their sexuality as well. Unlike other sports — especially men’s sports and leagues like the NFL — sexuality isn’t nearly as taboo as it once was. Unlike Michael Sam’s dramatic stepping out and subsequent shunning in the NFL, Bird simply joins a growing list of WNBA players who are openly gay, and accepted by the community around the league.