Looking back on the last seven days, I’ve decided a roundup is called for, to sum up the victories and defeats, the gains and the losses, the winners and losers of the past week.
Remember that old saying from little league? “If you had fun, you won!” Not always, it turns out. Some of the people we call losers did something to make life unfair for others. Some of my winners are people who lost something, because of those people.
These are my choices, not anyone else’s. Let us know what you think, and maybe you have a name or two you’d nominate, should we choose to do this again.
Topping the list of winners: the duathlon star, who was the first out transgender athlete to earn a spot on Team USA. Mosier spoke out this week in support of Caster Semenya, another one of my winners.
“Instead of her speed being treated as a gift, it’s being treated as something that is giving her an unfair advantage,” Mosier told Hill.tv about Semenya losing her fight to compete without medical intervention. “The problem is we are setting ourselves up in a position where we are policing and regulating women athletes in sports.”
Semenya may be a loser to some people, but she’s a winner in my eyes, because she vows she will run again: “No man, or any other human, can stop me from running,” she told reporters after winning one more 800m competition in Doha. Asked whether she would undergo testosterone suppression in order to compete, as the IAAF ruled and the Court for Arbitration for Sport upheld, Semenya said: “Hell no.”
A South African company is looking for RTs of this tweet to show support for Semenya:
Show your support for world champion and #VitalityAmbassador @caster800m. RT this to join our virtual wall of support to show #CasterSemenya that her #NeverBackDown attitude inspires us all. Your profile picture will be used in our mosaic. #SemenyaSpeed pic.twitter.com/5o9RDk6R9n— Discovery (@Discovery_SA) May 9, 2019
Social media winner of the week was clearly the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger, who lit up Twitter and Instagram by adding some booty to batting practice.
Hernandez recorded and shared a short video paying homage to “The Bend and Snap,” a memorable scene from the movie “Legally Blonde,” at Dodger Stadium. His team, the Dodgers, are a major sponsor of Outsports Pride and will host an event at the stadium on June 8.
The Dodgers second baseman stars in the video, but it’s his willingness to shake his butt that steals the scene. Since Monday, his tribute video has gone viral, with a combined total of more than 1.35 million views on Twitter and Instagram.
One of our most popular stories at Outsports this week was Ohio college basketball player Zach Montes’ coming out story. Montes is 20, and bisexual, and came out in an instagram post during spring break.
“Now that I am out and confident in myself, I am excited to focus on becoming the best basketball player I can be,” Montes wrote. “My message to other athletes like myself is to stay true to who you are, build a base of friends and family who support you through thick and thin. Having those close friends and family will allow you to build up the strength and courage to come out publicly one day.” Spoken like a true winner.
The out soccer captain of the USWNT took part in a tradition that until now excluded LGBTQ athletes: posing for Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue.
Rapinoe is the first out gay woman included in the often celebrated, sometimes derided, annual publication. In doing so, Rapinoe said she did it to expand the “narrow view” of what it means to be LGBTQ and an athlete, in a publication perceived to be “only for heterosexual males.”
Rapinoe, who came out in 2012 and is believed to be dating women’s basketball player Sue Bird, joined other professional soccer players for the St. Lucia photo shoot, including her teammates Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper. Winners all!
These winners didn’t make many headlines, which is surprising given their home state’s horrible record on transgender issues. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors approved a policy that “allows participation in interscholastic athletics for all students, regardless of gender or gender identification,” reported USA Today.
The prior NCHSAA policy restricted students to playing on a team based on the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Three percent of high school students in North Carolina identify as transgender, according to the NCHSAA.
“When a student’s gender identity differs from the gender listed on the student’s certificate of birth, the Gender Identity Request Form must be submitted by the member school to the NCHSAA,” according to the new policy.
Students have to list all treatments and medications related to gender identity and cannot participate in sports in their appropriate gender prior to applying. But they will be expected to show that they’ve updated their school records and living authentically both in school and in their community.
The NCHSAA committee has the final say on each individual’s application, but that’s still a win compared to what transpired not so long ago in the HB2 days.
Now, it’s time to review the losers, although we’re pretty sure they won’t consider themselves losers. Actually, USA Powerlifting’s national board of governors and the 46 members who voted against transgender inclusion this week, did win something: a reputation for discrimination.
USAPL’s president, psychologist Lawrence Maile, doesn’t want us to call it “discrimination.” He calls the term “misused,” and defends its exclusionary policy as simply following an established protocol: “We are a sports organization with rules and policies.”
With the help of an anti-transgender group based in the U.K., Fair Play for Women, Maile crafted what he calls a “Transgender Participation Policy,” which anyone else might call a ban. Not USAPL, which claims it “has not ban [sic] transgender athletes. There are rules surrounding requirements for membership as with any organization. Policy is set for the most fundamental of all of the rules, drug testing and secondly fairness in competition.”
“USAPL has continuously operated in bad faith throughout this process,” said the trans-affirming Women’s Strength Coalition in a statement. “From the beginning of the National Governing Board (NGB) meeting, USAPL leadership made clear their gross misunderstanding of transgender people, healthcare, and well-being.”
David W. Almasi
Who is David W. Almasi? And what did he do to be called one of this week’s losers?
Almasi is vice president of a conservative think tank called the National Center for Public Policy Research, and a serial “shareholder activist.” On Thursday, he challenged Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank at the company’s annual investor meeting in Baltimore. He lost.
His question: why does the sports apparel giant “promote transgender privilege in sports,” accusing Plank of “encouraging competition that many criticize as inherently unfair.”
Almasi cited several famous names in women’s sports, including Martina Navratilova, Sharron Davies, Ronda Rousey and Gabby Logan — all of them opponents of trans inclusion. And he criticized Under Armour for its association with retired pro hockey player Harrison Browne, who retired from the National Women’s Hockey League last year.
“How can Under Armour support, through its influence and its profits, practices that are inherently unfair to the sporting community — and to biological women in particular?”
According to Almasi’s group, Plank told him the company would not involve itself in politics and that it was not Under Armour’s job to define competition. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of trans inclusion but as things go these days, that makes Plank and Under Armour a winner in my book.
In February, Almasi successfully forced Apple shareholders to vote on whether board members should be required to disclose their political ideology — specifically, to root out liberals — but the proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by shareholders in March.
WWE issued an apology on behalf of Dylan Miley — who is known to millions of wrestling fans as Lars Sullivan — following reports in Outsports and elsewhere that his old homophobic and racist statements had resurfaced. That wasn’t the only embarrassment of the week for the humongous entertainment company, just one in a rash of homophobic incidents involving both company contracted talent and WWE itself.
Sullivan’s apology stated: “There is no excuse for the inappropriate remarks that I made years ago. They do not reflect my personal beliefs nor who I am today, and I apologize to anyone I offended.” Apology appreciated but that doesn’t erase the stigma of homophobia.
So far no apology for the other incidents from WWE.
Rep. Greg Steube
The Republican congressman from Florida proposed an amendment to the Equality Act this week to “ensure that nothing in the bill could be construed to require biological females to compete against biological males in sports.”
Steube is one of my losers, not merely because he’s opposed to transgender inclusion in sports, but because he literally lost: the Democrat majority on the House Judiciary committee voted down his amendment.
“I’m offering this amendment today to ensure that our daughters are provided an equal playing field in sports for generations to come, and that female athletes are not competing against male athletes for athletic scholarships and Title IX funding,” he said. “As we debate this so called ‘Equality Act,’ I want to guarantee that biological women are not forced to compete against biological men at all levels of athletic competition. Science has proven time and time again that there is a significant performance difference between biological males and females from puberty onward.”
Steube said he will try again when the bill is before the full House. He’s up for re-election next year. We’ll watching to see if he’s a winner then.
The International Association of Athletics Federations ranks as a loser this week because its discriminatory rule of mandating athletes like Caster Semenya undergo testosterone suppression went into effect on Wednesday.
What the IAAF can do now is require that runners in events up to 800m chemically reduce their blood testosterone level to below five nmol/L for at least six months before they will be allowed to compete. Plus, they will had to maintain a reading below that level going forward to continue as an athlete in those events.
Paul Bossi and the 100% Raw Federation
Finally, my last loser of the week is the man who called transgender powerlifter Mary Gregory a male. Paul Bossi is not only president of the 100% Raw Federation but he’s also a lifter. And when conservative news media and social media lit into his organization for Gregory’s accomplishments — smashing world records and taking home trophies — Bossi disqualified her, stripped her of her records and forced her to hand back her hardware.
“It was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a transgender female,” Bossi wrote in a statement.
That “infuriated” Gregory, she told Outsports. She’s changed her name, her ID, has been on estrogen and spironolactone for 11 months and already seen significant results.
Bossi declined to comment beyond his statement, which he said would be followed by a new “transgender participation policy.”