U.S. National Teamer Abrahm DeVine admitted to Stanford’s student newspaper that he “drank at a Team USA swim meet instead of showing up to support his teammates,” but still stands by his accusations that the real reason he was denied a place in Stanford’s pro training group was his sexuality.
DeVine went public last week on Instagram, accusing the Stanford swimming & diving program of homophobia and saying he was “kicked off the Stanford swim team.” DeVine had already exhausted his NCAA eligibility, but coaches of the Stanford men’s and women’s programs said DeVine was “not invited” to remain on the team as a postgraduate.
At the time, DeVine’s Instagram post said that “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.” We asked both DeVine and the program about those ‘surface level’ reasons and did not receive any specific details. But DeVine told The Stanford Daily in a statement that he had violated the National Team’s Honor Code by drinking at a Team USA meet, rather than showing up to support his teammates.
DeVine has since tried to clarify his Instagram post, saying it was less about calling out specific coaches and more trying to draw attention to what he calls a “systemic issue” in which he felt alienated as a gay swimmer within the culture of the team and the sport at large. Per The Stanford Daily report:
“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.
“Between coaches and other athletes, I feel there is so much ignorance to what it means to be gay in a sports world that my character is not recognized,” he said in his statement. “Although I feel I can participate by being silent and non-disruptive, I feel that my identity as a gay man is incompatible with the swimming world.”
DeVine went on to say that homophobic slurs were common on the Stanford team before he publicly came out:
“What I really wanted was some thought and reflection on where [the homophobia] was coming from, on why you think gay equals bad,” he said in the Stanford student newspaper piece. “And I think what actually happened was like, ‘Oh shoot. We can’t really say these [slurs] anymore. We might still think it’s kind of funny, but we’re going to censor ourselves.’”
DeVine also references coaches “appealing to masculine stereotypes to motivate swimmers and teammates mocking topics such as fragility and privilege.” He also challenged his coaches’ ability to coach gay athletes:
“If you ask any of these coaches, ‘What do you think about gay swimmers?’ they would say, ‘That’s great. I support equality, I support gay swimmers, sexuality doesn’t matter to me at all,’” DeVine said to the Stanford paper. “And then you can ask, well, ‘Why have you never coached a successful gay athlete and what do you think are the obstacles facing them?’ They will have no response.”
We asked the school for comment last week when DeVine made his Instagram post. At the time, they only provided this joint statement from the women’s head coach Greg Meehan and men’s head coach Dan Schemmel:
“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.”
Abrahm is my favorite competitive swimmer of all time no matter what. His coming out really inspired me to let the general public know about my autism. Well done Abe!
He keeps talking and trashing Stanford, this guy obviously have problems and he a took dig at USA ; swimming this won’t end well.
Frankly, I feel bad for everybody involved. AD must be feeling a ton of pressure from different sources and is struggling to handle it. I hope he has a strong support network of family, friends, teammates, and counselors to get him through this. He knew or should have known that skipping finals at that meet to drink was going to blow back (and may continue to do so). The inability to prioritize appropriately was a giant red flag for chemical dependency issues, which are often a symptom of other problems simmering under the surface. I suspect there is more going on than feeling ostracized because of his sexual orientation. For his own well-being, he needs to do some serious self-reflection… Read more »
Young, white man graduates from an elite university with little debt. Moves from one sunny, affluent, California coastal community to another.
When will his suffering end?!?
Have you seen his latest insta story?!?!?!? Hes trolling all of us!!!
“Sees no value in the honor code.” First of all, I’m pretty sure it’s “the code of conduct.” But since you brought it up…Team USA is a privilege. If you don’t see value… move along.
If the reasons were unrelated to his sexuality, then what were their reasons? Why couldn’t they just state the reason? Seems odd to not let an NCAA champ train with the pro training group.
If I were coaching a D1 college team, I’d absolutely have much higher standards for behavior when it comes to postgrads/pros. They are not scoring you any points, and they are adults setting an example for your college swimmers. Why should the coaches have to risk upsetting their team culture with someone who has shown himself prone to poor decisions? Postgrad training is a privilege, not a right.
Exactly. The other athlete was an undergrad, and owned what he did, and wasn’t tryna train with Greg.
Can you imagine Abrahm bringing this mess to the pool every day? With Simone and Katie? They’re going to have exactly 0 patience for this constant drama, regardless of Abrahm’s sexual orientation.
I’d seen Katie training as a guest swimmer when a curmudgeonly club member felt he had the right to swim with her. 20 staff members couldn’t coax him out of her lane for 15 minutes. She never stopped smiling and finally gave the lane to him and she moved into the lane Simone was in. Katie impatient? Her patience is saintly.
Last night of worlds, the supposed missed session, included Jay Litherland representing USA in the 400 IM final. This was an important race for an IM’er National team member to attend and show support.