April 8, 2024

South Carolina Women and ‘Women’

The Gamecocks’ women’s basketball coach opened the door to allowing men to play women’s sports.

Full disclosure: The most women’s basketball I’ve ever watched took place in The Daily Wire comedy movie “Lady Ballers.” I’m not a basketball fan, period, because it’s a far inferior sport to baseball. Basketball is 10 sweaty people running around in ill-fitting pajamas on a small wood-floored court trying to repeatedly throw a big ball into a netted ring while pretending to be fouled, whatever that means. Baseball, by contrast, features a gorgeous grass and dirt field on which takes place the rise and fall of incredible tension each time one player throws a small ball in hopes of making another player holding a stick swing and miss it. The stick-wielder wants to whack that small ball out of the reach of nine opposing players armed with only an oversized leather thing on one hand so he can make it safely around bases on the diamond. It’s simply glorious.

Anyway, that means March Madness came and went without so much as a cocked eyebrow for me — until Friday night.

That’s when Dawn Staley, coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team, declared that she’d be fine with men suiting up with the ladies. Her team had just defeated the North Carolina State Wolfpack to advance to the championship, which her team won on Sunday afternoon against the Iowa Hawkeyes and everyone’s favorite female basketball player, Caitlin Clark.

As any sports fan can appreciate, capping off a perfect 38-0 season with a championship is very impressive — SC is only the 10th Division I team to accomplish the feat — so congratulations, ladies.


In a press conference after the Final Four victory over NC State, Staley was asked about her opinion on the inclusion of “transgender athletes, biological males in women’s sports.”

“Damn, you got deep on me, didn’t you?” Staley responded after taking a drink and sighing, clearly not wanting to wade into the subject. Nevertheless, she plowed through the blocker and went on, “I’m of the opinion of, if you’re a woman, you should play. If you consider yourself a woman and you want to play sports or vice versa, you should be able to play. That’s my opinion.”

Obviously, her wording left the door open to common sense: If a man who thinks he’s a woman wants to play sports, let him play sports — just not women’s sports. Realizing that opening, the questioner followed up and got her to say, “Yes, yes,” she meant men should be able to play women’s sports. “So now the barnstormer people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me on one of the biggest days of our game,” she added, “and I’m okay with that. I really am.”

Maybe Staley is more comfortable with the idea given that one of her players is Kamilla Cardoso, who clocks in at 6'7". Yeah, six feet seven inches. The average NBA player is 6'6", just in case you’re wondering.

Riley Gaines, a champion college swimmer and champion for women’s sports, had thoughts. “Dawn Staley knows perfectly well that men’s basketball is a totally different sport than women’s basketball,” Gaines said. “That’s obvious by the speed of the game, the size of the ball, the sheer amount of layups compared to dunks when a player gets a fast break.”

She also doubts Staley is being honest. “Personally, I don’t think she believes what she said,” Gaines said Monday morning. “If you watch the video — her silence, the hesitation, and that drink of water — I think it spoke volumes. I think she knew she had to be politically correct. … She didn’t have the courage to stand up for women. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her, and she blew it.”

Standing up for women is precisely what this moment requires because the question for Staley wasn’t hypothetical. “Back in February,” notes PJ Media’s Grayson Bakich, “Lowell Collegiate Charter School up in Massachusetts had to forfeit a game because a 6'2” bearded kid on the KIPP Academy team was playing against actual girls and injured three of Lowell’s players. Yeah, that may be high school level, but imagine what college-level or professional athletes can do to women in the same age bracket.“

There are plenty of examples in the last few years of a man dominating a female sport just because he can cram his junk into a woman’s swimsuit or bike shorts and claim to be a "woman.” That aforementioned bearded basketball player, by the way, was suspended from the rowing team for ogling a changing female in the locker room.

Clearly, it’s a fetish with most of these guys, not a legitimate state of being.

I noted “Lady Ballers” up top. Our Emmy Griffin covered that in December, as did our “Pop Culture Contrarian” podcast team.

As a large bearded man myself, I can say that comedy and mockery may be our best cultural defense against the insanity of letting large bearded dudes suit up with the ladies to play sports. Dawn Staley should consider a viewing.

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