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Originally published Monday, October 15, 2012 at 7:46 PM

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Seimone Augustus becomes vocal proponent of equal rights for gays | WNBA

Minnesota Lynx standout Seimone Augustus is becoming a vocal proponent of equal rights for gays.

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WNBA

Augustus speaks out against

Minn. marriage amendment

Seimone Augustus has preferred to stay out of the public eye, even as her career has taken her to the heights of an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA championship.

But with her adopted home state of Minnesota considering a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, the Lynx standout is becoming a vocal proponent of equal rights for gays.

Augustus has her own wedding coming up, to longtime girlfriend LaTaya Varner.

"I felt like it was the perfect time for me, being on a platform where I can make a change with my voice and my situation," Augustus said. "Maybe inspire someone else to come out and be comfortable with themselves. Or maybe someone else's parents will see my parents saying that it's OK to be with your child and love your child unconditionally, regardless of your sexual preference."

Augustus came out to supportive parents when she was in high school and has not hidden the fact she is a lesbian. But it wasn't until she proposed to Varner that she started feeling comfortable with the idea of taking things public.

Minnesota law makes gay marriage illegal but Varner said she expects it will eventually be legal there, and a "No" vote victory in November would be a sign times are changing.

Augustus said she never felt concerned about how teammates and coaches would react to her being gay, but acknowledged that would not be the case for a male athlete doing the same thing.

"For the most part, to be honest, everyone thinks that the WNBA is one big lesbo-party anyway," Augustus said. "So the coming-out process isn't as tough for us because people are already expecting it."

NBA

Hawes leads 76ers to victory

Spencer Hawes, a former Seattle Prep and Washington Huskies player, scored 17 points to lead the host Philadelphia 76ers to a 107-75 exhibition victory over the Boston Celtics.

Meanwhile, ex-Washington State standout Klay Thompson had 21 points for visiting Golden State in a 104-98 loss to Denver.

College basketball

Knight to sell rings, medal

Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight is selling his championship rings and Olympic gold medal for what he considers a good reason: the education of his grandchildren.

A collection of the ex-coach's memorabilia will be auctioned by Steiner Sports Memorabilia, including Indiana NCAA-title rings from 1976, 1981 and 1987 and the 1984 Olympic gold medal.

"I've got stuff I didn't even know I had," Knight said.

Duke works out at Fort Bragg

Coach Mike Krzyzewski gave his Duke team a taste of his Army past.

The former West Point cadet, player and coach had the Blue Devils at Fort Bragg in North Carolina for a day of physical training and an open practice in front of a few hundred soldiers.

"I just want our guys to be around the best team in the world, and the best team in the world is our military," Krzyzewski said.

Auto racing

NASCAR, Fox extend deal

NASCAR and Fox Sports Media Group announced a $2.4 billion, eight-year extension that runs through 2022 and keeps the prestigious Daytona 500 and first third of the Sprint Cup Series on the network.

Fox, which has been with NASCAR since 2001, will pay an average of $300 million annually beginning in 2015.

Elsewhere

• The NHL and its locked-out players will resume negotiations Tuesday in Toronto. On Monday, players missed their first paycheck of the regular season.

• High-scoring forward Mike Modano, player-turned-broadcaster Ed Olczyk and New Jersey Devils executive Lou Lamoriello were enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

• Olympic BMX cyclist Kyle Bennett, 33, was killed in a single-vehicle auto accident Sunday in Conroe, Texas. He was a three-time world champion.

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