U.S. National Team swimmer Abrahm DeVine took to social media again yesterday, detailing more specific mistreatment he says he faced as a member of the Stanford swim & dive program, and referencing punishments by USA Swimming and Stanford.
DeVine has taken to social media several times in the past few weeks to publicly criticize his alma mater Stanford. DeVine first posted alleging that he’d been “kicked off the Stanford team” because he is gay. The school said that DeVine, who had already finished his NCAA eligibility, was not invited to train with the Stanford program as a postgraduate, and head women’s and men’s team coaches Greg Meehan and Dan Schemmel said in a joint statement that the decision had nothing to do with his sexuality.
In the ensuing media discussion, DeVine admitted to Stanford’s school newspaper that he had violated Team USA rules by drinking while at a Team USA meet, rather than being present at the meet – that appears to be one of the “surface level reasons” DeVine had referenced for he wasn’t allowed to remain at Stanford. But DeVine has maintained his claims that he’s been systematically mistreated within the Stanford program because of his sexual orientation.
DeVine returned to social media on Wednesday with another long post and a series of Instagram stories laying out more specific allegations against the Stanford program. There’s still some confusion about which coaching staffs DeVine is referencing: he swam his collegiate years under Ted Knapp, who resigned last spring, but the men’s program is now headed by Schemmel, while the Stanford postgraduates (at this point, all women) appear to train under women’s head coach Meehan.
Here’s the full text of that post:
(Yes, this was a whole photo shoot smh) Reflection on the last week: First and foremost, I have some amazing friends and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have them. Never felt more grateful. To push my message forward, I am now working with Stanford Athletics. Before this issue leaves my page, there are a few things I want to address:
1. Why is it that so many gay people resonate with this message? Isn’t that alarming? And why are so many (mostly, but not entirely) straight people so quick to dismiss it? This is part of what I touched on when I said ‘denial of experience’. All around us gay kids are quitting their sports teams, they are committing suicide, and they are hiding their core identity from the world. We cannot deny that something is going on in a world where ‘being gay doesn’t matter.’
2. Homophobia is generally understood as an intentional and directed act. If that is your definition, I do not know how to engage you in any sort of meaningful conversation around this issue. I am not a dictionary. We all need to have a shared and elevated vocabulary in order to tackle complex problems. Homophobia is systematic. Period.
3. The ‘surface level reasons’ I was referring to involved me drinking and breaking the rules of Team USA. I never meant to deny this or cover this up. On the subject of a systematic discrimination, it is juvenile to focus the conversation on the ethics of a 22 year old getting drunk. A more apt focus might be on why the only gay kid on the team sees no value in the honor code. And, when there are many athletes breaking it every year, why am I the only one being punished by both USA Swimming and Stanford Swimming?
4. To any gay kids reading this, I am sorry. I have always tried to portray a positive image, one where I am included. In reality, I have struggled to justify my participation in swimming for the last two years. I hate to spread this message, but it is my reality. However, being gay is an overwhelmingly amazing experience. It has revealed to me a hidden and beautiful world, so much love, a diverse perspective, and has given me strength beyond what most people can see. Don’t let the bs stop you from being proud of who u r❤️
DeVine followed up with a series of Instagram stories:
Among the specific allegations:
- That USA Swimming punished DeVine for drinking at a Team USA event. (DeVine was a member of the World Championships team this past summer). We’ve asked USA Swimming about the alleged punishment, but have not yet received a response. In his full post, DeVine also references Stanford punishing him, and we’ve asked the program about that.
- That two “straight white males” can “judge the shit out of me, force me to defer my graduation an entire year and cost me at least $15,000”
- That while swimming at Stanford, DeVine was “called a fag, harrassed, publicly humiliated, outed without my consent, was sexually accosted under the assumption I would like it, treated like garbage.”
We’ve reached out to DeVine, Stanford and USA Swimming about the allegations, but have not yet received responses, outside of Stanford’s previous statement from Meehan and Schemmel.