Abrahm DeVine Accuses Stanford Team of Homophobia; School Denies Allegations

Two-time United States world championships team member Abrahm DeVine posted on Instagram Sunday night alleging he was “kicked off” the Stanford swim team for being gay.

DeVine, who graduated from the school last spring, had been training there as a professional. He joined Team Elite in San Diego at the end of August but did not provide a reason for the change at the time.

“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 wrote.

Click here to view his full post.

Stanford head women’s and men’s team coaches Greg Meehan and Dan Schemmel deny that DeVine was asked to leave over being gay, but confirmed he was “not invited” to remain on the team. They gave SwimSwam the following joint statement:

“It is truly unfortunate Abe feels this way. That said, 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.”

SwimSwam is also expecting a statement from DeVine on the situation.

Schemmel took over the men’s program in May after longtime coach Tedd Knapp retired. He brought in Neil Caskey as an assistant, and DeVine’s primary coach as an undergraduate, former assistant Jeff Kostoff, was named associate head coach at the University of Minnesota in August.

Meehan has headed the women’s program since 2012, and currently coaches a professional group that includes Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel and Ella Eastin.

“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.” DeVine also wrote that Stanford “used” him.

DeVine, 23, was a member of the United States’ 2017 and 2019 FINA World Championships teams, finishing 10th in the 200 IM in 2017 and eighth in 2019. He also finished second to Chase Kalisz in the 200 IM at U.S. Summer Nationals in 2018, qualifying for Pan Pacs later that summer, where he finished fifth in the event.

He came out publicly as gay in September 2018.

A Seattle native, DeVine was also announced as a member of the ISL’s DC Trident in June and signed with swimwear brand arena in July, and became a two-time individual NCAA champion int he 400 IM his junior and senior seasons in Palo Alto.

Devine’s full post:

Update: Devine has followed up with a couple of Instagram stories. Devine clarifies that he doesn’t want anyone to be fired, but does stand by his statement. He gave a couple of details slightly more specific than what we’ve gotten so far. He mentions “coaches trying to intimidate me, friends turning their backs, cis straight white men trying to deny something they don’t want to understand.” It’s still not clear which coaches or which team members Devine is referring to.

 

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Snarky
1 year ago

This could get interesting.

Mrs. Swimming
1 year ago

I think if you’re going to attack a program like this, you need to raise more specific allegations. I found his Instagram post too vague to really get behind him. Who wronged him? What did they do? I will eagerly fight alongside any who fall victim to discrimination based on their sexuality or any other bigoted reason, but it’s hard to do so when we know so little. Call out the names and actions Abe! Otherwise I’ll just be taking this as I’m sure many others in the swimming community will: As baseless defamation.

Tsa3
Reply to  Mrs. Swimming
1 year ago

I believe Abe. Subtle and not so subtle hints against minorities, LGBTQ+ and women have been a hallmark of this country for centuries. Stanford should be able to provide concrete reasons. Perhaps another male swimmer(s) was uncomfortable?

cynthia curran
Reply to  Mrs. Swimming
1 year ago

I agree. There are plenty of gay swimmers. So, its hard for me to believe that he was kick off the team. Now, maybe he doesn’t get along with some teammates for being gay, but that’s a lot different than saying he was force off the team for being gay in this day and age.

Swimswammer
1 year ago

According to the article attached regarding DeVine coming out to the team in 2018, he stated “’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.”‘
Something doesn’t add up

DLSwim
Reply to  Swimswammer
1 year ago

I think DeVine’s statement this time around focuses more on the coaching staff. Stanford actually has had several openly gay male swimmers on their roster over the years and I think they have been fairly inclusive, at least in comparison to other teams. It seems to me that something happened after NCAAs that we don’t know about which makes it difficult to understand what’s going on.

Snarky
Reply to  DLSwim
1 year ago

I knew a few not-so-openly gay swimmers at Stanford 20 years or so ago when things were very different from today. There was definitely some homophobia or at least some confused minds on those teams. I would hope things are a bit different now.

2 Cents
Reply to  Snarky
1 year ago

That was probably the case at ANY place back then. Some evolve, some dont.

Lots of Questions
1 year ago

I have a lot of questions about this. It seems a bit cowardly way to handle this on Abrahm’s part to me, but obviously that’s just my opinion. Hopefully we learn the “surface level reasons” he mentioned in his post so we can see if they actually warrant him not being allowed to train with the team any more. I feel it is too early to cast a judgement.

Sccoach
Reply to  Lots of Questions
1 year ago

Cowardly is a strong word to use without knowing specifics

swimfanpop
1 year ago

I don’t know. This doesn’t add up. If you were treated so horribly for the last 4 years, most would’ve transferred. Especially at the level he is & proclaims to be. Seems it could be more on his character and lack of respect for coaches and teammates. His past actions would justify this much more than being gay.

Mike
Reply to  swimfanpop
1 year ago

Transferring out of a Stanford education is a difficult choice to make. I know nothing about what he feels the problems were, but as an undergraduate maybe you just suck it up and get through.

OPINION
Reply to  Mike
1 year ago

What does he value more. An education at a school where he claims to be mistreated based on a sexuality or feelings. He obviously valued the education over how he was being treated. And if it was such a bad environment, why not leave after graduation. Did he leave on his own terms or was he not welcomed back by the team and coaches and told to leave by them? Something doesn’t add up here?

PsychoDad
Reply to  swimfanpop
1 year ago

>If you were treated so horribly for the last 4 years, most would’ve transferred.

LOL. Unless you are guy, you are in no position to judge what he was supposed to do. What was he suposed to say: you do not like me, okay, I am going to go to another university and see if they like gay people. This is still America we are talking about. Half of people are pretending they are accepting.

hookem91
1 year ago

Honestly, I wonder how much of this has to do with the coaching change/Schemmel and Caskey’s coaching style/the fact that there are no other pro men training there with Meehan or Schemmel right now… that said, I bet there was definitely personality conflict as well as microaggressions/homophobic remarks while Abe was on the team. He’s not the only one in swimming who’s experienced it, he’s just the most recognizable one who’s actively spoken up about it. I hope this ends well for all sides.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  hookem91
1 year ago

You win the prize for the first to use “microaggressions” in this thread.

Yabo
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

What’s wrong with that term?

hookem91
Reply to  Yabo
1 year ago

People don’t like it because it’s too “one sided” or “liberal”. Only reason I used it was because it encompassed a variety of different, insensitive actions that I didn’t want to list in order to keep my already fairly long response concise. I didn’t realize that keeping my comment concise instead of listing all the things that could be considered a microaggression towards a gay person was going to be that controversial.

marklewis
1 year ago

He won some individual titles for Stanford at the NCAAs. I think only David Nolan did that in recent years. It seems like he deserves some respect for achieving that for his school.

Stanford’s statement is kind of lame. They should just state the reasons they did not invite him to be on the team, like there wasn’t a match in terms of personality or training program. If nothing changed other than he graduated, maybe it’s true that they excluded him for the reason Abe is giving.

NFL Guy
Reply to  marklewis
1 year ago

Hmmm, sounds like you don’t know the full story, do you Mark Lewis?

Sccoach
Reply to  marklewis
1 year ago

I disagree. This is a hot button topic so anything they say will be used against them. Smart for them to say very little to protect themselves.

NFL Guy
1 year ago

Antonio Brown 2.0

Yabo
Reply to  NFL Guy
1 year ago

Not even close

NFL Guy
Reply to  Yabo
1 year ago

Pretty close. Except Antonio Brown got kicked off the team. Devine just didn’t get invited back.
Both Brown and Devine proclaimed they were the victim in both cases, where, in reality, there is more to the story… I really hope Schemmel and Meehan come out with more information.

*drops mic*

SwimFan49
Reply to  NFL Guy
1 year ago

yeah, no – this isn’t in the same universe as AB.

NWCoach
Reply to  NFL Guy
1 year ago

I have known Abrahm since he was a 9-10 in the Northwest. It took a ton of courage for him to tell this story. He deserves our praise not this sort of judgement from someone who has no idea about the specifics of the situation.

Blackflag82
Reply to  NWCoach
1 year ago

Then maybe he should, you know, provide some specifics…

Doconc
Reply to  NWCoach
1 year ago

For what does he deserve praise??
A vague accusation of homophobia after not being asked to return??

How about all athletes keep their sexuality to themselves??

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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