Former NCAA star swimmer Riley Gaines challenged WNBA player Brittney Griner after she called it a “crime” to prevent transgender athletes from competing against biological females in women’s sports. Griner made headlines last week during a press conference by expressing her support for biological men participating in women’s sports.
Griner’s stance sparked a heated response from Gaines, who tweeted, “Which NBA team would have @brittneygriner since apparently the overwhelming, obvious differences between men and women should simply be overlooked? Heartbreaking to see athletically successful women take this demeaning stance.” Gaines further hinted at Griner’s past, adding, “And if we’re going to talk about crimes, Brittney…”
Which NBA team would have @brittneygriner since apparently the overwhelming, obvious differences between men and women should simply be overlooked? Heartbreaking to see athletically successful women take this demeaning stance.
And if we're going to talk about crimes, Brittney… https://t.co/cZpWYQShRI
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) April 30, 2023
Gaines’ rebuttal emphasized the biological differences between men and women, highlighting that Griner’s success in basketball was partly due to her size advantage. Griner, standing at 6-foot-9 and 205 pounds, towers above the average WNBA player’s height of 5’11” to 6 feet. In contrast, the average height of an NBA player is 6’6″, with centers typically between 6’9″ and 7 feet tall.
This debate comes as legislation across the United States seeks to protect biological females from competing against biological males in sports. For example, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act was passed in the House to prevent biological males from participating in girls’ and women’s sports. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) praised the bill, stating, “Today is a great day for America, for fairness, for families, and most importantly for female athletes.”
Exactly. Trans women who might be six foot seven and 280 lbs biological males should never be made to feel unsafe when physically crushing scary and bigoted biological women. We must protect women with penises from hateful extremist biological females. https://t.co/PW8Cwu5dJF
— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) April 29, 2023
Despite these legislative efforts, Joe Biden has indicated he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Meanwhile, state organizations like the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s executive board are implementing measures that require transgender athletes to provide their original birth certificates to determine which teams they can join.
Griner, arrested in Russia last year on drug charges and later freed in a prisoner swap, has expressed her commitment to fighting against legislation restricting transgender athletes. She told ESPN’s Bill Rhoden, “That ranks high on the list of things that I’ll be fighting for and speaking up against, you know, everyone has, everyone deserves the right to play, everyone deserves the right to come here, sit in these seats and feel safe and not feel like there’s a threat or they can’t be who they are or, um, like it’s just all eyes on them.”
Gaines’ strong criticism of Griner’s views demonstrates the ongoing debate surrounding transgender athletes in sports, especially as more states consider implementing protective measures for biological females. As the conversation continues, Gaines’s and Griner’s perspectives will undoubtedly contribute to shaping the future of this issue.