South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley says trans-identified men should be allowed in women's sports

"If you're a woman, you should play. If you consider yourself a woman… you should be able to play."


Following the South Carolina Women's Basketball team's victory over N.C. State, coach Dawn Staley said she thinks it’s okay for biological men to play against women if they identify as female.

In an exchange with Outkick Reporter Dan Zaksheske, Staley was asked about her stance on transgender athletes, particularly biological males, participating in women's sports. After a brief pause and a sip from her cup, Staley responded, "If you're a woman, you should play. If you consider yourself a woman… you should be able to play."

When pressed further on whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in women's sports, Staley responded with a direct “yes.” She went on to complain about the backlash she knew would follow from her answer on the topic.

“So now the barnstormer people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me… and I’m okay with that. I really am,” the South Carolina coach said.

Staley’s comments immediately resulted in backlash from activists who believe that transgender-identifying athletes competing in women’s sports is unfair to biological women. Riley Gaines, the swimmer who raced against Lia Thomas and has been an outspoken advocate for women’s sports, criticized Staley’s comments.

"Dawn Staley knows perfectly well that men's basketball is a totally different sport than women's basketball," Gaines said, according to Outkick. "That's obvious by the speed of the game, the size of the ball … the sheer amount of layups compared to dunks when a player gets a fast break.

"I wonder if Dawn Staley also supports 18u playing with 12u, or heavyweights fighting the featherweights, or Olympians competing in the Paralympics,” Gaines added.

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