ESPN Has Not Covered Riley Gaines Attack

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A violent mob of trans activists attacked Riley Gaines last week. Gaines has emerged as a prominent figure in sports and culture for her opposition to biological men competing against female athletes.

Of late, Gaines is one of few figures in sports to garner enough reaction to morph into a topic on cable news, as her attack was.

Yet the leading sports brand in the country could not find a blurb to reference the story. Based on website searches, has not mentioned the attack on Gaines even once.

ESPN PR did not respond to an OutKick request for comment on its decision to ignore a man assaulting a notable female athlete in the name of transgenderism.

The omission is of particular interest as ESPN went out of its way to mention Lia Thomas, whose inclusion in women’s swimming prompted Gaines to initially speak out. Last month, ESPN honored Thomas as a part of its Women’s History Month campaign for calling himself a woman in the swimming pool while he competes against women.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines in March 2022. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gaines is of less importance, it’d appear.

In addition to the webpage, the women inside ESPN have also stood silent on the matter. Except for Sage Steele, the sole openly conservative talent at the network.

“Stay strong @Riley_Gaines_,” Steele tweeted. “You have more people than you know supporting you & standing up to this madness.”

“Are there any other women with public platforms willing to stand up for @Riley_Gaines_ & the millions of female athletes??” Steele asked.

Samantha Steele Ponder spoke up. But nothing from any of their female colleagues.

Nothing from Elle Duncan, who used ESPN airwaves to advocate for teachers to talk about genitalia with young students, and for fathers to speak in favor of daughters having abortions in all 50 states.

Nothing from Malika Andrews who nearly cried on air during NBA Draft coverage because she erroneously believed overturning Roe v. Wade violates the Constitution.

Nothing from the supposedly Title IXers. Or ESPN’s women’s sports vertical, espnW.

Gaines’ assault by virtue of a man calling himself a trans has nothing on the baseless accusations of racism for those who criticize Angel Reese for her unprofessional behavior.

What’s more, ESPN personalities are covering politics instead of Gaines’ assault. Earlier this month, failed television and radio host Bomani Jones covered former Donald Trump’s arrest on ESPN’s podcast network.

ESPN deemed Trump’s arrest, abortion, Florida legislation, the skin color of Jesus (a Mark Jones exclusive) all newsworthy topics for a sports network. But not an attack on the most culturally relevant voice in female sports. Check the engagement of Gaines’ tweets and videos: she’s a lightning rod.

In fact, ESPN hasn’t covered Gaines’ advocacy for female sports either.

ESPN didn’t find her comments that Lia Thomas strutted around the female locker room exposing a penis worthy of conversation.

Is ESPN anti-woman?


The company is certainly cowardly.

Trans women are assaulting the foundation of female athletics. Their inclusion puts girls and women at a disadvantage in which they cannot physically overcome. Their inclusion forces women to change and shower next to naked men.

However, supporting trans athletes is hip, progressive, and woke. It’s where the retweets and praise come from — hence the honoring of Thomas.

Saying otherwise would serve counterproductive to that mission. As would covering the attack on Riley Gaines, a story that’d undoubtedly shed light on the vitriol and troubling commands that exist amongst trans activists.

ESPN feared covering the Gaines story would ignite sympathy for her. And raise awareness for the select women speaking out against what’s become the greatest threat to their female competition since inception.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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  1. It has nothing to do with her color. It doesn’t fit the left narrative. Mainstream media is also not covering it. It’s almost as if all the news directors sit in a room and decide what to cover (and what not to cover) to fit their narrative. Isn’t that what some would call “collusion”?

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