'It's a shame': After Riley Gaines, ESPN host Samantha Ponder slams Title IX proposed reform
BRISTOL, CONNECTICUT: After Riley Gaines, ESPN's Samantha Ponder, host of Sunday NFL Countdown, has spoken out against including trans women in sports. Ponder has made some statements amid an ongoing debate prompted by the Joe Biden administration's proposed reform of Title IX. Introduced back in 1972, Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and education programs that receive funding from the federal government.
The reform to the law that the Biden administration proposed would prevent a blanket ban on trans people in school sports. Schools that introduce such a ban would not receive federal funding any longer. The Biden administration said there cannot be any justification for banning trans children at elementary school from competing. But on the other hand, the plan could allow for a ban on trans athletes for "fairness in competition." This could lead to a potential ban on trans athletes like Lia Thomas. The ruling's vague nature has angered both people backing the inclusion of trans people in sports, and those who are against it. Thomas said that the change to the law that has been proposed did not really guarantee trans people the right to compete, Daily Mail reported.
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'This would take away so many opportunities'
Gaines recently wrote on Twitter, "Under the guise of competitive fairness? Are you really trying to say you would have won a national title against the men? Does it not break your heart to see women lose out on these opportunities? The Biden Admins proposed bill denies science, truth, and common sense." Sharing the post, Ponder wrote, "This would take away so many opportunities for biological women and girls in sports. It is a shame that we are needing to fight for the integrity of Title IX in 2023 and the reason it was needed in the first place. #savewomensports."
This would take away so many opportunities for biological women and girls in sports. It is a shame that we are needing to fight for the integrity of Title IX in 2023 and the reason it was needed in the first place. #savewomensports https://t.co/5Ufeha2emq— Samantha Steele Ponder (@samponder) April 19, 2023
'Lia Thomas is not a brave woman'
Last month, Gaines slammed ESPN for including Thomas in their segment dedicated to Women's History Month. Gaines competed against Thomas in the NCAA championships in March 2022 and has since been associated with the campaign against transgender sports.
"Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible. If I was a woman working at ESPN, I would walk out. You're spineless @espn #boycottESPN," Gaines wrote on Twitter.
Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible.— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) March 26, 2023
If I was a woman working at ESPN, I would walk out. You're spineless @espn #boycottESPN https://t.co/DF3n5RWsmV
ESPN's segment, titled 'Celebrating Women's History Month', has a voiceover explaining how Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division One championship in the 500 freestyle back in 2022. Thomas competed for three years at Penn as a man, Will Thomas, before the transition. Thomas breaking women’s records has, like always, raised questions about how fair it is when people who are born as men compete as women. There has been a lot of debate surrounding what is fair on the field, the court, the track, and in the pool.
Gaines, who has been very vocal about the issue, said at an event in 2022, where she was invited by former president Donald Trump, "Basically, all I want to say is that it takes a brain and common sense and fifth-grade biology level understanding to realize that this is blatantly unfair. It's completely obvious. I'm just gonna say keep female sports female."