The best way to protect women’s sports is to ensure they’re watchable and marketable, and the only way to do that is to have biological men save them.
Retired NBA star Matt Barnes got himself into hot water last week for saying that transgender women — known in scientific circles as dudes — should not be able to compete in women’s sports due to the innate biological advantages they have over actual women. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)
Barnes and his critics are both getting this issue all wrong. This isn’t about protecting female athletes or making transgender people feel welcome; it’s about bringing 360 windmills to the WNBA.
Just ask yourself a simple question: when’s the last time you watched a women’s sporting event? Don’t count games your daughter or sister competed in, or sports like tennis or beach volleyball — you know why. But when did you last choose to watch a women’s sporting event for a sport where men are competing in the same endeavor? It’s rare.
Viewership for the WNBA, NWSL, LPGA and PHL lags terribly behind that of their male counterparts. Contrary to popular sentiment, this isn’t because America is made up of a bunch of sexist pigs who hate seeing women doing something athletic and competitive. (RELATED: The NFL Makes A Sickening Decision. How Low Will The League Stoop?)
It’s because the level of play isn’t high enough. If it were about sexism, minor league baseball would draw bigger crowds than college softball, and the Korn Ferry Tour would do better than the LPGA. But when women do compete at a high level, people will watch it.
The obvious solution to this conundrum is more transgender athletes, not fewer. You can get a personal Scoops Delacroix iron-clad, locked-and-loaded stronger-than-oak guarantee that if LeBronica James were throwing down tomahawk jams for the Phoenix Mercury, people would tune in.
If the likes of Cynthia Crosby were scoring hat tricks in the PHL, Michaela Trout were hitting nukes in the WPF or Christina Pulisic were banging home free kicks in the NWSL, people would watch. But as long as there’s a lack of dunking in the NBA, no CTE-inducing checks in women’s hockey and no 300-yard drives on the LPGA, folks are simply going to continue to choose the superior product to give their hard-earned time and money.