Women’s NCAA Championship Game Coach Endorses Trans Women Playing Basketball, Worries Statement Will Distract Her | Video

“Now the barnstorm of people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me” on game day, Dawn Staley says

A Black woman sits in front of a microphone, appearing skeptical.
Dawn Staley on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Three-time Olympic gold medal winner Dawn Staley rarely, if ever, suffers fools. The head coach for the South Carolina Gamecocks is known for her often funny, always witty interviews, and her time speaking with the media Saturday after her team beat North Carolina State to advance to Sunday’s championship game was no exception.

OutKick reporter Dan Zaksheske asked Staley if transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in collegiate women’s basketball.

Staley took a long pull from her cup before she replied, “Damn, you got deep on me, didn’t you?” She gathered herself and answered, “I’m under 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,” she said. After a pause, she added, “You want me to go deeper?”

Zaksheske followed up, “Do you think transgender women should be able to participate—” before Staley jumped in, “That’s the question you want to ask, I’ll give you that. Yes. Yes. So now the barnstorm of people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me on one of the biggest days of our game. And I’m OK with that. I really am.”

The reporter posed the same question to the University of Iowa’s head coach Lisa Bluder, who gave a much less specific answer. She replied, “My focus is on tomorrow’s game.” She said the topic is an “important issue” for “another time.” It does not appear that he asked fellow final four coaches Wes Moore, the head coach for NC State, or UConn’s Geno Auriemma the same question.

The question of whether or not trans women should be allowed to play in collegiate women’s sports has been a hot button issue in recent years. In 2022, Lia Thomas became the first openly trans woman to compete for an NCAA Division 1 title. Thomas took first place in swimming’s 500-yard freestyle.

Of approximately 332 million Americans, 1.3 million adults and 300,000 children 13-17 identify as transgender. Of those, the estimated number of transgender athletes in NCAA sports is under 100. That hasn’t stopped some from focusing on those athletes.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman spoke to Fox News on Saturday about his decision to ban trans athletes from competing against girls at any sports facility run by his county. Blakeman issued the executive order despite the fact that it appears no one had complained about transgender athletes in local sports in the first place.

Pat Pizzarelli, of the Nassau County Public High School Athletic Association, told New York’s WNBC, “We have not had any issues with transgender athletes participating in Section 8 athletics… no complaints, and I’m not sure that there are any.”

A federal judge rejected the request for the ban this week. Blakeman said, “According to the logic of the judge’s ruling, I would have to wait until a little girl was paralyzed before I could act, and I don’t think that’s the law. And I think that we should be able to protect women, make sure that there’s fair competition, and that it’s not an unsafe environment.”

Staley’s Gamecocks will square off against Iowa’s Hawkeyes on Sunday for the women’s basketball NCAA championship. The hotly anticipated game is drawing the attention of basketball fans and newcomers alike, with many predicting that the Caitlin Clark-led Iowa team will be the first to take down South Carolina’s star Kamilla Cardoso and her undefeated team.


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