ESPN and the Democrats Throw Women Athletes Under the Bus
ESPN launched in 1979 as the Entertainment and Sports Network, broadcasting on cable and satellite television, focusing on sports programming.
ESPN in recent years discovered a new sport, wokeness, in keeping with most of corporate America. From the usual America bashing to playing Chinese genocide apologist, sports has become a sideshow for ESPN with their main event competing with CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times in the woke world series.
Women’s sports have come a long way over the past decades, with most sports having both men’s and women’s divisions, including world championships and the Olympic Games. But wokeness and leftist groupthink is threatening to send women athletes to the back of the bus to favor male athletes who choose to “identify” as women.
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ESPN recently honored former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas during their recent “Celebrating Women’s History Month.” Why not? A few weeks earlier, The White House gave a “Woman of Courage” award to a biologic male.
A year ago, USA Today named assistant HSS secretary Richard, now Rachel, Levine as its “Woman of the Year." It seems our ruling class and their media lapdogs have sent women’s rights back a century. And “women’s rights” groups are notably silent, suggesting that these groups support not women, but leftist causes and virtue signaling.
From Helen Reddy singing “I am woman, hear me roar” to the non-rhyming “I am trans and if you don’t think competing against me is fair then just shut up.”
Half the country, and world for that matter, were born with two X chromosomes, a vagina, and innate anatomy and physiology providing less strength, power, speed, and other athletic skills compared to the other population half born with an X and Y chromosome, a penis, and bodies that are superior to women’s for many sports.
Taking hormones, growing out your hair, and even undergoing surgical castration or breast implants doesn’t turn a male into a female. Transgender individuals are susceptible to gender specific diseases and cancers, regardless of how they identify. For example, Lia Thomas, regardless of his gender preference, is at much higher risk for prostate cancer than breast cancer, and will never have cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer. That’s the real science, unlike what we have been told to follow for the past three years.
What about athletic performance? First some background for readers who may not know the Lia Thomas story.
This saga begins with a University of Pennsylvania swimmer named Will Thomas, an unremarkable member of the men’s swim team whose life and swimming career went on hiatus due to COVID. During his year off, Will became Lia, joining the Penn women’s swim team. While a mediocre men’s swimmer, Lea is anything but as a women’s swimmer. “UPenn trans swimmer, 22, sparks outrage by smashing women’s competition records after competing as a man for three seasons.”
Lia went from Will, a back-bencher, to Lia, an all-star, winning Ivy League championships, setting Ivy League records, and winning an NCAA swimming championship. How is that fair to the women Lia beat, women who have been training in their sports for years only to be denied championships or records by having to compete against a guy?
These institutions are all about diversity, equity, and inclusion, but have yet to explain how males competing in female sporting events provides “equity.”
The woke institutions finger wagging us all to “follow the science” during COVID and wear two masks when jogging alone, as one of MSNBC’s national correspondents bragged, seemingly don’t understand the gender science of puberty and testosterone.
Testosterone levels are one of many things that distinguish males from females. The IOC correctly notes, “A number of scientific papers have recently shown people who have undergone male puberty retain significant advantages in power and strength even after taking medication to suppress their testosterone levels.”
Puberty is when boys differentiate from girls through muscle mass, power, and strength. Once the male engine is built, adult testosterone levels matter little. This means that a trans female swimmer keeping his testosterone level below a certain number makes little difference at this point since he went through male puberty years earlier.
How does this translate within swim competition?
Let’s look at actual competition results, for example, the women’s 200-meter freestyle swim event, the one where Thomas won the Ivy League championship and set a tournament record. Specifically in the Tokyo 2020 games, the women’s gold medal time was 1:53.50 for Ariane Titmus, an Australian swimmer.
The men’s gold medal time was 1:44.22, a full nine seconds faster than the women’s gold medal time. In fact, all men’s final and semifinal times were faster than the women’s winning time. In the heats, only one male swimmer posted a slower time than Ariane Titmus. In other words, virtually any male Olympic swimmer competing as a female would have taken the women’s gold medal.
How is that fair? In this day and age, where life, especially at colleges and universities, revolves around equity, tolerance, and diversity, how does a biologic male competing as a female, regardless of testosterone levels or levels of wokeness, demonstrate equity?
Lia must not have studied biology or physiology at Penn, as for him it’s only about happiness. “There’s a lot of factors that go into a race and how well you do, and the biggest change for me is that I’m happy,” Thomas said in an interview last year.
Women left in Lia’s swim wake are not happy:
12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, who tied with Thomas at the NCAA championships in 2022, put it, “Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title.”
“He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible. If I was a woman working at ESPN, I would walk out. You’re spineless @espn #boycottESPN,” Gaines tweeted.
Aside from sporting competition, there is a dark side to this movement. Disagree and here is what to expect.
When protests are not enough, transgenders turn to militant activism. As the Daily Mail reported a few weeks ago, “Terrified swimming champion Riley Gaines is ambushed by screaming trans activists and 'hit twice by guy in a dress' after Saving Women's Sports speech at San Francisco State University.” Any feminist groups concerned about such “violence against women”?
So much for diversity, equity, and inclusion from the trans community. Instead, it’s agree with us or we will beat you up. Move over Antifa and BLM, the left has new militant shock troops to push their agenda.
At a personal level for women competing against trans-females, “Trans swimmer Lia Thomas 'dropped her pants' and exposed her 'male genitalia' in a women's locker room after a meet” as reported by the Daily Mail. Are women’s groups roaring about this? I remember when a guy exposing himself to a gal was a sex offense.
What’s the solution? Why not leave well enough alone? Those with XX chromosomes compete as women and those with XY chromosomes compete as men, regardless of gender identification or preferred pronouns. Or create a separate category for trans athletes, assuming there are enough athletes and marketing interest to create separate national, world, or Olympic championships for those identifying as anything other than man or woman.
Maybe the courts will help restore sanity, or perhaps not. As this recent headline noted, “Supreme Court rules West Virginia transgender athletes can compete on female sports teams.” The court believes that a 12-year-old boy can play basketball on a girls’ team and it’s all fair and good. Any of those justices have a teenage daughter athlete?
Congress could weigh in, as the U.S. House did by passing a, “Bill to bar transgender athletes from female sports teams.” It’s an empty gesture because as the New York Times correctly points out, “The bill, championed by Republican lawmakers, has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate or being signed by President Biden.”
What can we conclude other than that Democrats despise accomplished women, despite their rhetoric to the contrary. Why else would they throw women athletes under the “boy’s club” bus?
Supporting this highly unfair playing field does a huge disservice to female athletes. ESPN, in its treatment of trans athletes to the detriment of female athletes, is displaying a degree of misogyny not seen in American society in decades.
They should be leading the charge for equity, rather than telling female athletes that they don’t matter. Instead, ESPN and Democrats are participating in sending women’s sports back to the dark ages. Helen Reddy, if she was still alive, could remake her 1972 hit song and remind women that 50 years later they need to be roaring about this injustice.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a physician and writer.
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