Legendary Coach Dawn Staley Says Transgender Women Should Play Women’s Sports

Sports Dawn Staley
Legendary Coach Dawn Staley Says Transgender Women Should Play Women’s Sports

The University of South Carolina women’s basketball team won their second national championship in the last three years on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes and their superstar Caitlin Clark, 87-75, completing their undefeated season. South Carolina’s head coach is Dawn Staley, who was named one of the 15 greatest players in WNBA history in 2011.

The Hall of Famer may be a better coach than player, which is saying something considering her on-court dominance, and in 2004 she was chosen to carry the United States flag at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies as a player en route to one of her three gold medals (four including her time as a coach).

Staley took over South Carolina’s head coaching job in 2008, and by 2014 she had built it into a contender, winning its first national championship in 2017. The last three years have been almost completely owned by Staley and South Carolina, as they have won a staggering 109 games versus just three losses while winning two of the last three national championships (they lost last year to Clark’s Hawkeyes in the Final Four).

Staley has been to three straight Final Fours, won three SEC titles in a row, and has been named the Naismith Coach of the Year three seasons in a row. There is no college basketball coach, men’s or women’s, who is currently as dominant and accomplished as Dawn Staley.

The point here is that there may be no better expert on transgender athletes’ ability to play in collegiate women’s sports than Staley. That her quote came a couple days before the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics essentially banned transgender athletes from their mostly small-school sports shows how important having informed voices on this subject is, given that public discourse on it is largely driven by the most uninformed and cynical parts of American society.

Dawn Staley, who does not fit neatly into the left-wing “woke” designation the right-wing wants to assign to everyone with a shred of empathy, came out the day before what was almost surely the most-watched national championship in the history of women’s basketball, and said that transgender women should be able to play women’s sports. She very easily could have passed on this question in service of saying “we’re focused on the task at hand” or some other generic sports-speak to keep the attention on the national championship, but she didn’t. Watching her answer it makes it clear that she put a lot of thought into this response.

In a previous era, the anti-woke brigade would surely fight back with some nonsense about women’s sports and the lack of attention paid to them, but that misogynistic bullshit doesn’t play anymore outside of the reactionary cesspools of anti-thought.

This was an historic year for women’s basketball. The Final Four game between Iowa and Connecticut on ABC averaged 14.2 million viewers (breaking the previous record for women’s basketball set by Iowa and LSU in the elite eight of 12.3 million). This number outpaced every single World Series and NBA Finals game last year, every Daytona 500 since 2013, every Master’s golf tournament final round viewership since 2013, and all but five college football games from last year.

To say women’s sports are having a moment is a total misunderstanding of the viewership data coming out of this season. This is a sea change, this moment is just where we can confirm it. Disney would not consistently give women’s basketball a major platform on ABC if it did not view it as one of its most valuable properties. The game has grown immensely, thanks to people like Dawn Staley who have been pushing to get the sport in the limelight long before it recently became a fixture on our major networks.

To put Staley’s towering reputation in some perspective for the uninitiated: imagine if Nick Saban, former legendary head coach at Alabama who headed their dynasty, had said something like this. That’s the stature Staley has earned just as a coach. Add in her experience as a player and the Saban comparison is an insult to Staley’s experience. She’s an icon.

She is deeply religious too, so much so that she believed her 2022 national championship team was “divinely ordered.” The Freedom from Religion Foundation has asserted that she has violated her players’ First Amendment rights through her outspoken religiosity, and she has ruffled feathers on the left like this in the past. Any anti-woke scold trying to turn her into an avatar for lefties does not understand either Staley or the left.

Which is why it was amusing that the person who asked her this question was clearly hoping for an answer that would align with their right-wing agenda. The question at the press conference came from a writer at Outkick, an outlet that aims to be Fox News for sports and streams on Fox Nation. You can tell these schmucks really care about women’s sports because they only ever show up to ask about transgender athletes and the national anthem.

They have a history of disingenuous coverage designed to stoke right-wing outrage, and this was no-doubt another attempt to manufacture a news cycle around their preferred talking points. That they inserted Riley Gaines’ comment into their “news” story of Staley’s response to their question just proves their soulless agenda at the heart of all this. Gaines, an Outkick correspondent, is famous for once tying for 5th place with a transgender athlete in a swimming competition while at the University of Kentucky, and she has subsequently made her entire public personality about it, providing her with a job at Outkick for life.

After composing herself in the face of this disingenuous questioner and giving a thoughtful answer, Dawn Staley demonstrated the clear gap in humanity between people who can feel empathy, and those soulless nihilists in our discourse who wish for nothing more than to spend their entire lives profiting off of immiserating marginalized people’s lives.

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