Outsports, an LGBTQ sports and activism blog owned by Vox Media, published the names of over 300 women athletes who stood their ground by signing a letter addressed to the National College Athletic Association Board of Governors asking for the preservation of women’s sports “without permission.”
— Outsports (@outsports) August 3, 2020
In the letter, hundreds of women athletes urge the NCAA board not to participate in a boycott organized by the American Civil Liberties Union and transgender athlete Lindsay Hecox against Idaho for passing the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which necessitates participation by student athletes according to their sex.
“Fairness for female athletes should not be a political or partisan issue,” the letter read. “We athletes have diverse views on many topics, but stand united on this fact: protecting the integrity of women’s sports is pro-woman, pro-fairness, and consistent with the purpose and promise of Title IX.”
While many of the signatories were “afraid of the backlash that they might get on social media of being labeled a transphobe or a hater” if their names were released, Outpost published screenshots of all of the names claiming that it was “in the public interest, because those who stand in favor of discrimination ought to be held accountable.”
Save Women’s Sports, the organization that helped collect signatures for the letter, released a statement condemning Outpost as an “extremist activist group” and “disreputable organization.”
These petty attempts to silence female athletes are the very reason we needed to write this letter to the NCAA: bullying and harassment must not be tolerated. It is disgraceful that Outsports and other like-minded extremist activist groups, are bullying and harassing women simply for standing up for fairness in the sports they love. Rather than engaging in peaceful dialogue, Outsports is on a witch-hunt to silence women for respectfully advocating for fair competition. We at Save Women’s Sports, along with hundreds of female athletes, choose dialogue over doxing and we reject these bullying tactics from fringe, petty, and disreputable organizations. We will not be silenced.
Christiana Holcomb, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney who is representing Idaho State University athletes Madison Kenyon and Mary Kate Marshall as well as some of the other women who signed the letter, called Outsports’s article “a witch-hunt.”
.@outsports Publishing the name/location of women who wrote to the #NCAA seeking fair competition isn’t journalism—it’s a witch-hunt. #NCAA, stand with #AthletesOverActivists.#sexnotgender #fairplay @SaveWomensSport https://t.co/OVe21XEuIW
— Christiana Holcomb (@ChristianaADF) August 3, 2020
Just last week, Holcomb told The Federalist that some “activist organizations” would try “telling female athletes that they need to be silent.”
“Anytime you allow a biological male into their category and allow them to take away spots and push female athletes down in the rankings, that is discrimination against female athletes because Title IX was designed to give them those opportunities,” Holcomb said. “There’s a lot of loud activist organizations out there that are striving to tell the American public that this is the way that sports should look and telling female athletes that they need to be silent.”
Linda Blade, one of the signatories of the letter and a former NCAA All-American heptathlon athlete, also expressed her disapproval with Outsports calling them “bullies” for pushing a “hateful agenda.”
I am honoured to be on this list?
By trying to shame us you and your little @ncaa #ncaa minions who released the letter are showing us PRECISELY WHY we needed to write the letter.
Because you are bullies.#IStandWithMartina @martina and all the women listed. ✅ https://t.co/voFYx1f2QX
— Linda Blade (@coachblade) August 3, 2020
“If @outsports has its way, #sport opportunities for #female #athletes will be greatly diminished,” she tweeted.
If @outsports has its way, #sport opportunities for #female #athletes will be greatly diminished.
Let’s hope that @ncaa #ncaa leadership sees this letter and the possible damage to women of bowing to #outsports hateful agenda.#SexNotGender for preservation of women’s #sports.
— Linda Blade (@coachblade) August 3, 2020
According to ESPN, the NCAA is set to review Idaho’s new law “during a board of governors meeting in August.”