Lance Armstrong is the latest person to dive into the conversation about transgender athletes, doing so in a series on his podcast, The Forward, and kicking off the series with Caitlyn Jenner.

In a weekend tease on Twitter, Armstrong, infamous as the face of a doping scandal at the highest level of professional cycling, announced his podcast would begin a series of interviews covering a spectrum of opinions on the topic of trans people in sports.

The series kicked off with two editions in the last two days. Monday’s interview was a one-hour conversation with a person who is as maligned to some in trans circles as Armstrong is in cycling — 1976 Olympic Decathlon gold medalist Jenner.

In the interview Jenner stated succinctly that trans women do not belong in women’s sports

The actual interview was much of the expected. Jenner repeated opinions held as a political candidate and Fox News consultant. She maintained support for governing bodies such as FINA and World Athletics who imposed blanket bans on transgender women competing within women’s sports, terming those bans as “victories.”

“I have been clear from the beginning,” Jenner said in the interview. “I am all about fairness not equity and sports has to be fair. I want to protect women and women’s spaces in sports. We have to go on what fair for women’s sports to survive.”

Jenner also had pointed comments on LGBTQ activism, how her view of her place in the trans community has changed, and each were railing against “cancel culture.”

One of the more pointed moments was Jenner’s answer to a question by Armstrong in which he mentioned 2022 NCAA swim champion Lia Thomas and professional cyclist Austin Killips by name, in regards to those athletes winning championships.

“I don’t see how a Lia Thomas can sit there and go ‘Oh,I feel so great. I beat all those girls,’” Jenner said. “You can even see after she was getting so much press she was backing off. She would just beat them by a little bit when she could have just crunched them.”

In contrast, Tuesday’s interview with University of Colorado professor and sports governance analyst Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. was less opinion-charged and probed deeper into the regulatory and ethical issues involved. As he has in previous interviews and in his own writings in the subject in at his blog The Honest Broker, Pielke stressed looking at the nuance beyond the political atmosphere within sport and society, and that the lack of numbers of transgender participants at the elite levels makes research a challenge.

Sports governance analyst Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. (left) touched on the greater ethical and regulatory issues while also stressing the need to governing bodies to find middle ground that is fair to all sides and all athletes

“The first thing is, it’s really difficult to get good evidence, good science to inform good decisions and regulation,” Pielke said. “The next place you land is what do you do in place of uncertainty where you don’t have the information? Sports law is really clear on that. If we don’t know, we are going to err on the side of being inclusive.”

Pielke reaffirmed his opposition to blanket bans while also affirming that certain rules may need to be rethought. When Armstrong asked Pielke about fairness regarding Lia Thomas’ NCAA win last year, Pielke said that the win was fair because she was eligible by the rules in place at the time. He also affirmed that if there is a problem, it surrounds those rules.

In response, Pielke put forth a proposal for a regulation similar to cap-tie rules in international soccer, that regulate what nation a given player could represent, to regulate transgender athletes.

“If you are on an NCAA men’s swim team and compete for one year, you are tied. You can transition but you cannot change categories,” Pielke said. “I think all of the cases where people say ‘this doesn’t look fair to me’ involve athletes who are already elite to some degree in the sport and then transition afterwards.

“If there was a cap-tie rule all of those cases would fall off and in my view it would take 90 percent of the issue away. This is an issue that is important enough that we can approach incrementally.”

Pielke was largely critical of governing bodies and their handling of the issues involved and where their priorities are in regards to doing the homework to make policy.

“What these international federations need to understand is that they are going to be spending that money one way or the other,” he noted. “They will be paying lawyers and expert witnesses or they can just suck it up and say they’re going to do this research and put in place fair processes.”

The genesis for this podcast-conversation effort by Armstrong?

“We have an employee, our pilot,” he said. “Six months ago they informed us that they were transgender and would start this process of transition. It was one of those things and you just didn’t see it coming.

“My wife really stayed on me said ‘I want you to really walk through this journey with them’ and so I did. As I spend time with that story and evolve on that story then we have now that is so topical and you read about it almost daily this issue.”

Critics of this effort pointed to Armstrong’s past as a competitor and what ended his competitive career. In 2012, he received a lifetime ban from all competition sanctioned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and was stripped of seven Tour de France titles as well.

“I don’t know how anyone, after all that, after years and years of Mr. Armstrong publicly destroying his own credibility, could take anything he has to say seriously,” Former Human Right Campaign Press Secretary and transgender activist Charlotte Clymer stated via Twitter. “Even though he doesn’t care about trans rights either way, our utility to him is now being leveraged in the typically cynical manner he approaches the world.”

Future interviews will include George Washington University researcher Dr. Eric Vilain, Skeptic Society co-founder Dr. Michael Shermer, Harvard biologist Dr. Carole Hooven, Athlete Ally Director of Policy & Programs Anne Lieberman and founder and athlete Chris Mosier.

(To view interview with Caitlyn Jenner click here, and for the interview with Dr. Roger Pielke click here)