ESPN analyst Samantha Ponder was criticized in a USA Today column after she called for “fairness” in girls' high school sports in response to a tweet about transgender athletes competing.
Thursday, Ponder quote-tweeted former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who has spoken out against transgender women competing in women's sports. Gaines showed texts she said she received from girls and parents in California about transgender girls competing in track and field.
Here is how Ponder responded:
I barely said anything publicly abt this issue & I’ve had so many ppl msg me, stop me in the street to say thank you+ tell me stories abt girls who are afraid to speak up for fear of lost employment/being called hateful. It is not hateful to demand fairness in sports for girls https://t.co/teNoMDWNW4
— Samantha Steele Ponder (@samponder) May 25, 2023
Nancy Armour responded to the ESPN analyst with a column Sunday in which she called the ESPN analyst out for “bigotry.”
“Don't be fooled by the people who screech about “fairness” to cloak their bigotry toward transgender girls and women, the transgender girls and women who have the audacity to want to play sports, in particular,” Armour's story read.
“…If Ponder truly wanted to champion women's sports, she's had ample opportunity. But she hasn't. Because this has nothing to do with “fairness.”
According to Armour's story, ESPN declined to comment about Ponder or “how they square with the network's social media policy.”
Armour also criticized Ponder for not using her platform to speak about inequitable funding between men's and women's sports programs.
“Her public concern about “fairness” for female athletes starts and stops with the miniscule number of transgender women who are participating in sports,” Armour said.
The ESPN analyst has “liked” other tweets from Gaines and others who are against transgender athletes competing in women's sports.
One tweet is from Caitlyn Jenner, who was formerly known as Bruce Jenner. Jenner won gold at the 1976 Olympic Games in the men's decathlon.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) May 22, 2023