‘Offensive beyond belief’: Critics slam tribute comparing trans swimmer to Jackie Robinson

by WorldTribune Staff, March 22, 2022

At last week’s NCAA championships in Atlanta, Lia Thomas became the first biological male athlete to win an NCAA Division I women’s title.

Lia Thomas and Jackie Robinson

Cheryl Cooky, Purdue University professor of American studies and of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, wrote in an op-ed for NBC News that the NCAA victory elevates Thomas to the same status as Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball that had been in place for 60 years.

Thomas, a fifth-year senior, swam for three years on the Penn men’s team before joining the women’s side for the 2021-22 season after undergoing more than a year of testosterone suppression.

In promoting Cooky’s article, NBC News noted: “Opinion: We should be celebrating Lia Thomas the way we celebrate Jackie Robinson.”

“Thomas, as the first transgender athlete to win a Division I NCAA championship, deserves to be placed among the other firsts,” Cooky said. “She should be embraced in the history of progress that sports represent and recognized as the trailblazer that she is.”

Ryan T. Anderson, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, who wrote the 2019 book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” noted: “If the analogy to Jackie Robinson was accurate, the logical conclusion would be getting rid of separate male-female sporting events the way we rightly got rid of separate black-white sporting events. Skin color is irrelevant to athletics, sex is not.”

The @darkst account named Marco Young said that Robinson “faced terrible racism as a child, in the military and as an athlete. Comparing this cheat to a man who struggled against horrific racism in order to play the game with dignity is the literal height of racism. This movement is offensive beyond belief.”

The @TWTheRedDragon account tweeted, “I don’t recall Jackie Robinson being born as white & deciding one day he‘s gonna be black. If you actually care about women’s sports then you should be against biological men participating in them.”

One social media commenter summed it up: “How is Jackie Robinson, a man who was at the top of his game, comparable to a mediocre man who could never be a champion until he competed against women.”

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