‘Lia Thomas is not…brave’
Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines criticized ESPN for honoring William “Lia” Thomas on Sunday with a short clip about the male swimmer’s domination of female swimming competition.
“Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title,” Gaines tweeted. “He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible.”
“If I was a woman working at ESPN, I would walk out. You’re spineless @espn #boycottESPN,” Gaines wrote.
Thomas previously swam against male athletes while at the University of Pennsylvania before taking hormone drugs and switching to female competition. Thomas graduated Penn in 2022.
Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible.
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) March 26, 2023
OutKick’s David Hookstead tweeted a clip of the ESPN segment along with is own comments. “ESPN celebrated Women’s History Month by promoting a special about transgender swimmer Lia Thomas……a biological male who destroyed real women in the pool,” Hookstead wrote.
“How can any woman work at ESPN after this?” Hookstead wrote. “The network is just openly mocking them at this point.”
Gaines has been a regular critic of Thomas, going back to when the Penn swimmer tied with her for fifth place in one meet. Gaines alleged that NCAA officials ordered Thomas to hold the trophy for photos, even though the pair tied.
Gaines recently told The College Fix that many university leaders agree with her in private but will not publicly condemn the dominance of transgender athletes in female sports.
As The Fix previously reported:
“I think the most important thing colleges can specifically do to protect women’s sports is stand firm in how they genuinely feel,” Gaines told The Fix.
I was present at the NCAA convention, where I got a booth similar to the set up of this convention, where athletic directors would walk around, all the presidents of universities, chancellors, and I had the chance to talk to all of them.”
What they told her might sound surprising given their public stances.
“They all said to me, ‘Keep doing what you are doing, we support you, we just can’t do it publicly,’” Gaines said.
Gaines helped organize a petition to the NCAA in January that urged opposition to male competition against females.
IMAGE: Riley Gaines/Twitter