ESPN Host Stands Firm After Girls Sports Statement
Sports broadcaster Samantha Ponder is pushing back against critics who label her “a bigot” for speaking out on the issue of trans-identifying males competing in women’s sports.
The ESPN host got into a war of words with USA Today columnist Nancy Armour after challenging President Joe Biden’s proposed changes to Title IX that would prevent banning trans-identifying males from competing in women’s sports. Armour wrote an opinion piece accusing Ponder of “plain old bigotry” for supporting female swimming champion Riley Gaines, who argued that men should not be permitted to compete in women’s sports.
In response, Ponder tweeted “biology is not bigotry” and insisted that it is not “hateful” to “demand fairness in sports for girls.” The post has since gone viral with over 1.9 million views as of publication.
Biology is not bigotry. Loving people does not require the absence of boundaries.
— Samantha Steele Ponder (@samponder) May 31, 2023
Ponder’s support of Gaines comes after the female champion was deprived of an NCAA award by trans-identifying male swimmer Lia Thomas. Gaines shared text messages she’s received from female athletes in California who “feel helpless” for competing against trans-identifying males in track and field.
“I barely said anything publicly about this issue & I’ve had so many people message me, stop me in the street to say thank you+ tell me stories about girls who are afraid to speak up for fear of lost employment/being called hateful,” Ponder tweeted.
I barely said anything publicly abt this issue & I’ve had so many ppl msg me, stop me in the street to say thank you+ tell me stories abt girls who are afraid to speak up for fear of lost employment/being called hateful. It is not hateful to demand fairness in sports for girls https://t.co/teNoMDWNW4
— Samantha Steele Ponder (@samponder) May 25, 2023
A number of people have come to the defense of the sports broadcaster, including the President of the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF).
“We stand with Samantha Ponder in the face of blatantly false accusations by @USATODAY's @nrarmour. It isn't 'plain old bigotry' to stand for women's human right to have sex-segregated sports free from competition by males,” the organization wrote on Twitter.
The debate over trans-identifying males competing in women’s sports continues to heat up, with supporters of trans rights arguing that barring them from competing will lead to discrimination against transgender individuals. Opponents of these changes, however, argue that allowing trans-identifying males to compete in women’s sports is unfair and puts female athletes at a disadvantage.