While many Americans spent the weekend remembering those who gave it all for our freedoms, USA Today columnist Nancy Armour had a more important matter at hand was criticizing people who don’t want transgenders in women’s sports.
Armour's focus? Sam Ponder, who works for ESPN’s NFL team. On Thursday, Ponder reposted a tweet from Riley Gaines in which the former college swimmer displayed messages of support she had received for speaking out against biological men being allowed to compete in women’s sports. Ponder voiced her support of Gaines and the anonymous people who want fairness in women’s sports.
I barely said anything publicly abt this issue & I’ve had so many ppl msg me, stop me in the street to say thank you+ tell me stories abt 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 https://t.co/teNoMDWNW4— Samantha Steele Ponder (@samponder) May 25, 2023
Perfectly reasonable, but Armour found it quite disturbing. The columnist wasted no time in ridiculing the analyst, using the first two paragraphs to characterize Ponder and her take as “hateful.”
“Don’t be fooled by the people who screech about "fairness" to cloak their bigotry toward transgender girls and women, the transgender girls and women who have the audacity to want to play sports, in particular,” Armour said. “This is, and always was, about hate, fear and ignorance.”
Armour upped her ante by saying later that because Ponder didn’t tweet her support for other issues in women’s sports that her calling for fairness in women’s sports is a “sham.”
“Did Ponder use her platform to express outrage at any of this? Urge her nearly half-million followers on Twitter to write or call their representatives and ask that women be given the funding and opportunities they rightfully deserve? Did she publicly participate in any of the many excellent documentaries, videos and commentary ESPN did to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX last year? Or even Tweet about them?,” Armour asked. “No, she did not. Her public concern about “fairness” for female athletes starts and stops with the miniscule number of transgender women who are participating in sports.”
Progressives use this tactic to attack conservatives when engaging in debate in other areas. For example, they’ll claim that people who don’t support abortion can’t publicly say so unless they also say they’re for helping mothers after the pregnancy. Likewise, they’ll claim that people who want to maintain the right to own firearms must then publicly condemn every individual school shooting. When progressives lose one argument, they try to make conservatives take stances on other issues to take the focus of their incorrect position.
But Ponder doesn’t have to jump through Armour's hoops in order to have an opinion on transgenders in women’s sports. The issues are mutually exclusive. At best, this line of reasoning is a red herring and a poor attempt to devalue Ponder’s words.
Furthermore, even if Armour is right in saying that a small number of transgender females are competing in women’s sports, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be addressed and stopped. Just one transgender in women’s sports is too many, and no matter when or in what sport it’s allowed to happen, the end result is always the same: the men beat out at least some of their female competitors because of the inherent physical advantages they possess.
This line of reasoning likely won’t convince people like Armour to change their minds. But at the very least, it's encouraging to hear well-know people like Ponder get the message out.