ESPN personality Sam Ponder doubled down on her stance in regard to transgender athletes competing in sports.
Nearly a week ago, University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines tweeted her thoughts about transgender girls competing in high school track and field competitions in California, saying it was “discrimination against women and bullying” that “mediocre men” have crept into the sport.
Gaines also revealed text messages from girls who claimed to be scared to voice their opinions and fathers stating their frustration about the sport’s influx of transgender competitors.
That’s when Ponder quote tweeted Gaines and stated that it is not “hateful to demand fairness in sports for girls.”
USA Today columnist Nancy Armour subsequently wrote a scathing column calling Ponder’s stance “bigotry” and a “sham.”
“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 wrote in her column on Sunday.” “… Ponder endangers these already in-peril people by further amplifying the bogeyman that cisgender women’s participation in sports is being threatened by transgender girls and young women.”
Ponder, who has served as the host of ESPN’s NFL Countdown since 2017, responded to Armour’s criticism Wednesday, tweeting that “biology is not bigotry” and that “loving people does not require the absence of boundaries.”
Biology is not bigotry. Loving people does not require the absence of boundaries.— Samantha Steele Ponder (@samponder) May 31, 2023
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
Ponder’s latest interaction with Gaines was not her first in regard to transgender athletes competing in high school sports. In April, Ponder responded to ESPN colleague Sage Steele’s tweet supporting Gaines in her stance.
“Just wow. Yes Riley, so many of us are cheering you on. I imagine this has felt lonely at times and I’m genuinely sorry for my own cowardice in not speaking out sooner. Stay strong sister ❤️,” Ponder tweeted.