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Whitlock: ESPN isn’t man enough to even discuss transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas
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Whitlock: ESPN isn’t man enough to even discuss transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas

Lia Thomas is why I have so much animus toward ESPN, the self-described worldwide leader in sports.

Thomas is the biological man competing on the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team. His parents named him William. He originally competed on Penn’s men’s team. Lia is the most disruptive athlete perhaps in the history of sports.

He is Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Colin Kaepernick rolled into one gender transition. Thomas is crushing his new peers in the pool. He’s pissed off his female teammates. They’ve been forced to anonymously complain to Outkick and the Washington Examiner about Thomas’ illogical and immoral invasion of their sport.

Yesterday, an anonymous Penn swimmer spoke to the Washington Examiner.

“Yeah, it’s definitely really stressful,” Thomas’ teammate told the Examiner.

“It definitely weighs on my mind a lot because it’s definitely hard to overcome the feeling of feeling completely overlooked, as if the NCAA just does not care about us at all. And nobody cares about how this is affecting us at all.

“It just seems like if you say anything, everyone is just going to attack you and call you transphobic, and it’s not even true. We just want to have what we were promised by joining the swim team, which is fair competition and equal opportunities. It’s been really frustrating because we all agree, and I have yet to meet anyone or talk to anyone who thinks what is going on is OK.”

I’m unaware of Lia Thomas’ name ever being uttered on ESPN, the self-described worldwide leader in sports. I can’t find his name or story mentioned anywhere on ESPN.com.

A week ago, the Ivy League released a statement supporting Lia Thomas. In part the statement said, “The Ivy League reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all student-athletes while condemning transphobia and discrimination in any form.”

The richest, most powerful and influential universities in America issued a statement defending Lia Thomas. ESPN said nothing, pretended it didn’t happen.

Thomas is not the first biological boy to compete against girls, but he is the most important, polarizing, and the highest-profile. In a normal world, ESPN would be analyzing and discussing the impact of Thomas’ swimming career twice as much as the network debated Tim Tebow kneeling in prayer, Kaepernick kneeling in protest, Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on draft day, 65-year-old Bruce Jenner transitioning to Caitlyn, and George Floyd dying from a combination of drugs and police misconduct.

Women’s sports are being transformed and,quite possibly destroyed right before our eyes. ESPN is ignoring this dramatic change. Michael Sam’s kiss was a bigger deal?

Cowardice is the only explanation.

The deafening silence throughout corporate media makes me think of the 1996 Tupac Shakur song “Heartz of Men.” I can’t lie. I used to love Tupac’s music. I used to listen to it virtually every day. “Heartz of Men” is a hyper-masculine song that warns men about the wickedness and weakness of many of their peers.

When I think about Lia Thomas, his dominance of female swimmers at Penn and in the Ivy League, and how corporate media are intentionally ignoring this story, I think about wickedness and weakness.

I’m embarrassed for men. I’m embarrassed by how far we have fallen.

Men used to take pride in protecting women. Now we take the most pride in protecting our social media brands, our paychecks, and our popularity with the in-crowd.

Social media has led us to believe that protecting career criminals is more important than protecting college women. ESPN talking heads would riot rather than remain silent over law enforcement’s treatment of George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and Rayshard Brooks.

Yesterday, I released a video spoof mocking the deification of Floyd, Blake, and Brooks. The spoof points out the absurdity of the attention, concern, and love we lavish on men who spent their lives wreaking havoc on others. Professional athletes, ESPN broadcasters, politicians, celebrity entertainers, and alleged civil rights activists pretend they defend Floyd, Blake, and Brooks as a way of being a voice for the voiceless.

Every TV network and media platform in America has discussed the plight of Floyd and company. College female athletes? We’ll leave their struggles to fringe websites.

Did Floyd, Blake, and Brooks earn a louder voice than female athletes? Why are male athletes silent about the plight of their female peers?

LeBron James has a daughter. All of the activist athletes have nieces, female cousins, sisters, and friends. Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes, Ryan Clark, Randy Moss, Colin Kaepernick, Malcolm Jenkins.

Cowards. All of them.

Moss cried on national TV because Jon Gruden said DeMaurice Smith has big lips. Moss has three daughters. They are and/or were athletes. He should have an opinion on what’s transpiring in women’s sports. So should all the other athletes – male and female – who appear on ESPN. Maybe they think what Lia Thomas is doing is great. I’d love to hear their reasoning.

We’ve listened to them second-guess and condemn police officers the past six or seven years. They know nothing about policing but talking endlessly about it.

It’s sickening what has happened to the hearts of men. They have shriveled and disappeared. Our hearts pump Kool-Aid. We spend our energy, emotion, and resources fighting to protect criminals who resist arrest and have no genuine concern for victims of crime, the safety of law enforcement, or competitive spaces reserved for women.

In 2012, I lost a family member I loved to what my family and I believe was police misconduct. His name was Anton Butler. He had a criminal record that included drugs and guns. I’m not unsympathetic to George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and Rayshard Brooks. But I’m also not a fool.

I have far more sympathy, concern, and passion for law-abiding citizens who are harmed by crime or have their hard-earned opportunities undermined by biological men who feel like women.

As Tupac would say, I’m “on this side, the real side.”

On the real side, what Lia Thomas is doing is stop-the-presses newsworthy. It’s worthy of vigorous debate and analysis. It could change the course of history and undermine the rights of biological women.

ESPN isn’t man enough to enter the discussion. America isn’t man enough. We’re a nation run by cowards.

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Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock

BlazeTV Host

Jason Whitlock is the host of “Fearless with Jason Whitlock” and a columnist for Blaze News.
@WhitlockJason →