inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

GIORDANO: South Carolina Coach Staley Misses the Hoop With Transgender Remarks

The past month has been a great time for the advancement of women in sports. The excellence of play in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and the rivalries of various players, teams, and coaches have become watercooler talk.

The game between LSU and Iowa drew 12.2 million viewers due to the stunning play of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, who routinely launched shots from 30 feet away, and her rivalry with LSU superstar Angel Reese.

In addition to this, you had LSU Coach Kim Mulkey’s battle with The Washington Post and other media outlets over her coaching tactics. You also had multiple national championship winners, including South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley and her undefeated team.

Then, in the middle of this recognition of young women, a reporter asked Stalely a fundamental question about the future of women’s sports, and she threw her players under the progressive bus.

Dan Zaksheske of Outkick Sports asked Staley, “Coach, you just talked about what a massive weekend this was, obviously for women’s basketball and women’s sports in general. One of the major issues facing women’s sports now is the debate about the inclusion of transgender athletes who are biological males in women’s sports. I was wondering if you would tell me your position on that issue.”

Stalely responded, “Damn, you got deep on me. I think that if you are a woman, you should play. If you consider yourself a woman and want to play sports or vice versa, you should be able to play.”

Does Stalely believe this, or does she want to avoid pressure from people who claim you celebrate women in sports but also put them at a competitive disadvantage by having them face people who were born biological males?

Sport at the highest level is a game of inches or tenths of a second. That’s why a growing number of groups that govern women’s sports have placed increasing restrictions on those who are born biological males competing against women.

Riley Gaines, former University of Florida swimmer who famously competed against University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, said, “Dawn Stalely knows perfectly well that men’s basketball is a totally different sport from women’s basketball. 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.”

Gaines has started a campaign to urge great female athletes to speak out on the competitive advantages males have in most sports. Martina Navratilova has publicly asserted her views at times but then faced a backlash. I will be surprised if prominent female athletes respond to Coach Stalely’s statement because of the pressure they would face.

There will be more soon on this issue when the Biden administration makes some anticipated changes to Title IX that would stop state bans on transgender athletes in women’s sports. This change could be a lightning rod in the presidential election. Twenty-five states have passed bans on transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. This is not just a passing issue. And we will likely see the debate over it heat up with the upcoming Summer Olympics.

But aside from this controversy with Coach Stalely, we have seen the basketball greatness she has created with another undefeated season for her team. We’ve also seen the historic record-setting scoring and passing of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. Hopefully, this attention to women’s basketball will reaffirm how much competitive sports can shape the characters of boys and girls and young men and women.

Sports develop teamwork, resilience, leadership, and physical fitness. This is special and must be carefully protected.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or