“This isn’t a human rights issue, this is a sports integrity issue.”
In the wake of widespread public debate over the role of transgender athletes in women’s sports, a Fox Sports panel weighed in on the hot-button culture wars topic.
“Speak for Yourself” host Jason Whitlock kicked off the debate Wednesday by asking how letting trans athletes compete could impact women’s sports. Whitlock said he believes transgender athletes have a “competitive advantage”.
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Panelist Marcellus Wiley concurred. “Objectively there’s a competitive advantage,” Wiley said before citing a 2004 International Olympic Committee ruling that cleared the way for allowing transgender individuals to compete in the Olympics as long as they had undergone gender reassignment surgery.
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) February 28, 2019
“We have to understand that this isn’t a humans rights issue, this is a sports integrity issue,” the former Pro Bowler added. One possible solution to the dilemma, according to Wiley, is to separate athletes based on the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Fellow panelist and three-time Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth voiced his agreement with Wiley by bringing in a hypothetical involving his children. “If my daughters were top of the state, got to run in the state finals, and got beat by a transgender athlete, I would have a problem with that,” he said. “That would bother me”.
Schlereth said that he doesn’t have a problem with people being transgender, but for sports there is a “competitive balance” issue.
The “Speak for Yourself” discussion comes amid a national debate over the rights of trans athletes, especially those who compete against women. In a recent opinion piece for The Sunday Times, women’s tennis icon Martina Navratilova criticized the practice of allowing transgender athletes to compete against women as “insane.” Meanwhile, the dominance of two transgender high school sprinters in Connecticut sparked a public outcry.
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