Stanford Swimmer Says He Was Kicked Off the Team for Being Gay

The school denies the allegation.

A star swimmer who set records for Stanford and was an NCAA champion and Pac-12 Conference Swimmer of the Year has alleged he was kicked off the team because he is gay.

Abrahm DeVine made the claim in an Instagram post on September 30, saying he would not be returning to the school as a postgraduate as he had initially intended.

“Why is it my job to educate coaches and athletes at the most resourceful university in the world?” he asked in the post (below).

“Everyone says they support me, and yet, for the millionth time, I am the only one speaking up. 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,” he continued.

“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? 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.”

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As many of you know, I’m an openly gay swimmer and I am the only one at my level. I want to use this post to call out some of the homophobia that I’ve experienced being an athlete, and encourage everyone to be thoughtful and intentional about changing some of the homophobic aspects of the athletic culture that exists today. While I have many specific examples of micro aggressions and outright aggressions that I’ve experienced, homophobia is ultimately much more than an accumulation of experiences. In fact, it is a denial of experience. While I feel like I’ve tried to convey this to many people, many of whom deny any possibility that they contribute it, I’ve started to ask myself: Why is it my job to educate coaches and athletes at the most resourceful university in the world? I cannot continue to try to engage people in this conversation when there is so much fragility to obscure my humanity and character, so much rhetoric to keep me silent. Everyone says they support me, and yet, for the millionth time, I am the only one speaking up. 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? 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. This is a pattern. Homophobia is systematic, intelligently and masterfully designed to keep me silent and to push me out. I am a talented, successful, educated, proud, gay man: I am a threat to the culture that holds sports teams together. 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. If you are reading this, this post is for you! Gay or straight, swimmer or not. None of us are exempt from homophobia. It is your civil duty to educate yourself. If you choose not to, it is at my expense.

A post shared by Abrahm DeVine (@abrahmdevine) on

When asked by a reporter in the comments if he was free for an interview he said he was “not trying to engage with news sources on this.”

In an interview with Swim World Magazine last year, DeVine said his team was accepting of him after he came out.

According to KPIX, Stanford Assistant Athletics Director Brian Risso responded with a statement that said, in part: “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.”

Stanford men’s and women’s swim coaches Greg Meehan and Dan Schemmel released a joint statement, Swim Swam reports.

“Abe wasn’t invited back to train with us this fall, as a postgraduate, for reasons entirely unrelated to his sexuality,” they said. “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.”

DeVine posted a screenshot to his Instagram story of a comment alleging he was asked not to return due to going out drinking before a major competition and then lying about it, to which he added, “Ask everyone about Abrahm’s experience except him.”

“Prime example of my ’supportive’ teammates being ’supportive’ when I speak up,” he wrote.

Abrahm DeVine
Abrahm DeVine/Instagram
Journalist, editor, and artist.