The accusation has been made that Lia Thomas is a toxic, uncaring, cocky, self-absorbed, rule-breaking diva who—get this—believes herself to be the Jackie Robinson of transgender athletes.
Ya, it's that bad.
So what are we to make of the charges laid against Thomas, who's been winning some (by vast margins) and losing some in her first year with the University of Pennsylvania female swim team, after three seasons with the men's group?
Well, right off the hop, we need to assume that Thomas' accuser has a name, except Christopher Tremoglie wasn't inclined to let us in on the secret after a one-on-one natter led to his recent hit piece in the Washington Examiner, so we'll just call her Jane Anonymous.
That isn't to suggest Tremoglie reached up and plucked Miss Anonymous' quotes out of the air, the way Vegas magicians make doves, tigers and pretty ladies appear and vanish with the wave of a wand or the flip of a wrist. Unless revealed otherwise, we'll accept that Miss Anonymous actually said what she said, that she was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and that Tremoglie used a recording device for unimpeachable accuracy.
So let's lend an ear.
"She compares herself to Jackie Robinson," Miss Anonymous told Tremoglie. "She said she is like the Jackie Robinson of trans sports.
"I try not to be around her because the whole situation makes me so mad. I don’t think Lia is a bad person. She’s very quiet and kind of introverted ... it’s just really hard for me to respect her at all because of what she’s doing to my team and what she’s doing to women in general and not caring.
"She laughs about it and mocks the situation. Instead of caring or showing that she cares about what she’s doing or what she’s doing to her teammates, she’s not sympathetic or empathetic at all. Lia never addressed our team. She never asked if it was OK. She never asked how we felt. She never tried to explain how she feels. She never has said anything to us as a group. She never addressed anything.
"All she does is make comments to people like, ‘At least I’m still No. 1 in the country,’ and those kinds of cocky things. She doesn’t care how all this is affecting us and how this is affecting our relationship to swimming. She doesn’t care, and it makes it really hard to like her.
"On our last training trip, we were told not to wear Penn gear on our trip to Florida, on the off chance that we would get harassed or anything. So, everyone went out of their way—now, about 75 per cent of our athletic wardrobe is Penn—we went out of our way to not pack any Penn stuff. Except Lia. Every single day at the airport and at the gym, Lia made sure to wear a big Penn shirt with ‘Penn Swim and Dive’ on it. And she was the only one. We weren’t allowed to wear it because of her, and she did it every day. She was doing it just to make a point. We all went out of our way for her."
Ouch. Sounds like Thomas is convinced her stuff doesn't stink, and she needs an attitude adjustment the way a sputtering, old clunker of an automobile needs time with a mechanic.
It is, however, one thing to act odious, like the characters on the Real Housewives of (pick a town, any town) and alienate yourself from 40-plus teammates, but when a 22-year-old Ivy League transgender swimmer is comparing herself to Jack Roosevelt Robinson, well, she's plunged to depths of the ocean that not even Jacques Cousteau visited. And that requires a serious intervention. A coming-up-for-air, if you will.
I'm uncertain how much Thomas knows about Robinson, the first Black man to grab a glove and step inside the foul lines to play Major League Baseball, but it's apparent you can probably place her knowledge of the man inside a shot glass. And have plenty of room to spare.
People still talk about Robinson with much reverence today, almost 75 years after he pulled on his Los Angeles Dodgers jersey No. 42 and slayed baseball's racial dragon, and unless Thomas keeps saying stupid things I'm not sure anyone will be talking about her 75 days from now.
Perhaps it's nothing more than youthful naivete that prompted Thomas to deliver such a misguided boast, one that borders on blasphemy, and it surely wasn't meant for our ears. Or maybe it was. Don't know, because Thomas isn't talking. Whatever the case, she's Jackie Robinson like an Archie comic is porn, and it's the sort of cringe-inducing stuff the transgender community can do without and certainly doesn't need the world to hear.
Lord knows we've had a difficult enough time trying to explain Caitlyn Jenner and her diva antics the past six years, and that should be enough punishment, thank you.