ESPN broadcaster Sam Ponder faced criticism Sunday because her support for fair and equal women’s sport was the subject of an opinion column by USA Today’s Nancy Armor.
Ponder and his ESPN colleague Sage Steele have expressed support for it Riley Gaineswho has taken the lead in leading the demands for transgender athletes to compete in sports against the gender they were born with and not the gender they identify as.
Gaines has been at the forefront since she tied with Lia Thomas in the NCAA championship in 2022.
Recently, Ponder spoke again on the subject Gaines tweeted the news She learned about transgender high school runners participating in the girls’ division in California.
“I’ve said very little publicly on the subject and so many people have texted me that they stop me on the street to say thank you and tell me stories about girls who are afraid to speak up for fear of hurting theirs Losing a job or being called hateful. It is not hateful to demand fairness in sport for girls,” Ponder tweeted.
However, Armor described Ponder’s words in her column as “plain old bigotry”.
“Don’t be fooled by people who shout about ‘fairness’ to hide their bigotry towards transgender girls and women, especially transgender girls and women who have the audacity to want to play sports” , Armor began the column.
“This is and always has been about hate, fear and ignorance.”
Armor was particularly concerned that Ponder had chosen to speak out on the issue rather than speaking out about girls’ and women’s sports not being funded equally with boys and men.
“Did Ponder use her platform to express her outrage about this? Urging her nearly half a million followers on Twitter to write or call their representatives and demand that women get the funding and opportunities they rightfully deserve? Did she publicly participate in any of the many excellent documentaries, videos, and commentary ESPN made last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX? Or even tweet about her?” Armor wrote.
“No, she hasn’t. Her public concern about ‘fairness’ for female athletes begins and ends with the tiny number of transgender women involved in sports.”
Armor accused Ponder of putting transgender people at even greater risk with her tweets, “by reinforcing the bugbear that cisgender women’s participation in sports is being threatened by transgender girls and young women.”
Armor concluded that Ponder’s opinions had nothing to do with “fairness”.
Earlier this month, a A Washington Post-KFF poll found that the majority of American adults believe that gender is determined at birth and are opposed to biological males competing in women’s sports.
Sixty-six percent of American adults do not believe that biological men should compete in high school women’s athletic competitions, while 34 percent support that biological men compete against women.
When it comes to college and professional sports, 65% of American adults don’t believe biological men should be allowed to participate in women’s sports, while 34% supported the idea in both categories.
In youth sports, 62% of American adults did not agree that biological men should compete with biological girls, while 37% supported that transgender girls should compete with biological girls.
Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this report.