Reporter’s Transgender Athlete Analogy Falls Flat On Twitter

USA Today journalist Lindsay Schnell received considerable criticism online over citing one of the NBA’s top stars in an argument regarding transgender athletes. Schnell cited LeBron James’ time in basketball as an example of how sports are not “fair.”

Schnell responded to a tweet regarding ESPN personality Samantha Ponder regarding biological males in sports. 

Ponder tweeted support for activist Riley Gaines, who has been outspoken about the inclusion of born-male Lia Thomas in women’s swimming leagues. Thomas’ switch from male to female leagues led the swimmer to go from mediocre results against men to stellar victories against biological females. 

Ponder supported a tweet by Gaines in which the athlete said that she would “fight for the integrity of Title IX.” 

Ponder wrote that since posting about the issue, she received many people coming up to her “in the street to say thank you” and tell stories about “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,” she wrote.

USA Today columnist Nancy Armour wrote a column calling Ponder’s comments “plain old bigotry.”

“Her public concern about “fairness” for female athletes starts and stops with the minuscule number of transgender women who are participating in sports,” Armour wrote.

Schnell retweeted the column and Armour’s comments, saying that each “time I hear someone say trans women competing in sports” isn’t fair, she thinks of a statement by Twitter user Layshia Clarendon. 

“Is LeBron ‘fair’? It’s sports! Nothing is fair,” Schnell relayed.

Schnell’s comments were met with a number of negative comments underneath her post, with one user stating that he “might actually watch the WNBA when it’s overrun with middle-aged dudes dominating and setting records.”

The fight over biological males competing in female sports appears to be accelerating. The controversy over Thomas’ role in women’s sports is still debated, and Gaines was threatened by protesters during a recent appearance at a San Francisco university.

Thomas was defeated in a women’s swim competition by another biologically-male swimmer.