Tuesday 13 February 2024

Bob Costas On Trans-Identifying Athletes: ‘We Can’t Throw Common Sense Out The Window’

 Sportscaster Bob Costas chimed in regarding the trans controversy in sports, saying, “We can’t throw common sense out the window.”

Costas appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” alongside Atlantic staff writer Caitlin Flanagan. Maher spoke of the lawsuit filed by transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas against World Aquatics so Thomas could compete in women’s swimming at the Summer Olympics. He asked whether permitting trans-identifying athletes to compete against women was fair.

“Without getting too deep into this, people may not realize this, the individual federations that govern these sports make up their own rules,” Costas answered. “So World Aquatics may have different rules than FIFA or the Track and Field Association. So I understand that when it comes to Olympic boxing, that federation will allow trans women to compete against biological women, at birth biological women. That seems crazy.”

“You don’t want to be called — it’s not transphobic to say ‘Let’s inject some common sense here,’” he continued. “A lot of this is murky. We know that some people who use this as an issue actually are hostile towards trans people, or people who after carefully considered decision at a certain point in life, decide that they’ll be happier and closer to their true selves. I think any sensitive person is aligned with thatBut — Sugar Ray Leonard didn’t fight Mike Tyson. They were contemporaries. Sugar Ray was a welterweight, Mike was a heavyweight, alright? If someday the best player in the WNBA can play in the NBA, everybody would applaud. But if the worst guy at the end of the bench on the worst team in the NBA went to the WNBA and averaged 40 points a game, everybody knows that’s bulls***.”

“What’s the answer for the trans athlete? What’s the answer? A separate division?” Maher pressed.

“Well, I don’t think you want just trans athletes competing against other trans athletes; they’re going to have to codify the rules that I’m not prepared to say exactly what those rules would entail but they’ll have to codify them so you don’t have a hodge-podge,” Costas replied.

“You know these kind of extreme cases, and I hate that we have to talk about them so much because it makes it [like] we have to say things that are cruel or hurtful to some people but you know, women’s and girls’ sports, they weren’t created as separate from men’s and boys’ because of some weird gendered thing like they have to wear pink, and they have to wear blue, they’re that way because of the profound sex differences between the sexes,” Flanagan chimed in. “That’s the reason. You don’t hear about any trans male athletes on a D1 basketball team… it’s the trans women who seem to be using a natural advantage that comes from sex-linked traits, you know, we women- we can’t compete.”


“But it might not be, at some point down the road, if it’s codified, and if you take the transition hormones and balance that out, and maybe that happens before puberty or shortly after, because even if you begin that hormone therapy, you retain some of the advantages that generally go with being a man, greater lung capacity, greater strength, etc., etc.,” Costas stated. “So they’re going to have to codify it. … We don’t want to be cruel or punitive toward someone who is trying to deal with a circumstance, but at the same time, we can’t throw common sense out the window.”

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