‘It’s Complicated’: Michael Phelps Reacts To Lia Thomas Transgender Swimmer Controversy

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Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps has finally waded into the waters surrounding the Lia Thomas transgender swimming controversy that has dominated the news for the last 5-6 weeks. Appearing in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the 23-time Olympic gold medalist was asked about his reaction to the Thomas situation.

“I can talk from the standpoint of doping,” Phelps told Amanpour. “I don’t think I’ve competed in a clean field in my entire career.

“So, I think this leads back to the Organising Committees again because it has to be a level playing field. I think that’s something that we all need.

“I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I believe that we all should feel comfortable with who we are in our own skin. But I think sports should all be played on an even playing field.”

While Phelps, who has a long list of sponsors to think about when he speaks on a question that could lead to the cancel mob attacking him, wouldn’t come out and say the NCAA should have transgender athletes compete against each other and leave biological women alone, he kept coming back to a common theme: an even playing field.

“I don’t know what that looks like in the future. But it’s hard. It’s very complicated.

“This is my sport. This has been my sport my whole entire career. Honestly, the one thing I would love is everybody to be able to compete on an even playing field. That’s all I can say.”

Read into that how you wish.

Meanwhile, according to swimming media outlet SwimSwam.com, the NCAA Board of Governors “will discuss its transgender participation policy” at a meeting this Thursday, January 20.

The board “can provide guidance and recommend legislation” to NCAA divisions, SwimSwam reports. Will anything be done to stop Thomas’ path to the NCAA championships in March? It’s hard to believe anything will be done since Thomas was allowed to start the season under current NCAA transgender competition rules.

However, it’s crystal clear that the NCAA is aware this topic needs to be addressed as the sport is on a collision course. A male identifying as a female could walk away with two NCAA titles in Atlanta.

And in other news associated with the Thomas controversy, the American Swimming Coaches Association issued a statement over the weekend calling on the NCAA to review its rules on transgender athletes.

“The American Swimming Coaches Association urges the NCAA and all governing bodies to work quickly to update their policies and rules to maintain fair competition in the women’s category of swimming. ASCA supports following all available science and evidenced-based research in setting the new policies, and we strongly advocate for more research to be conducted,” the organization said in its statement.

“ASCA embraces and encourages diversity and believes all people should have the opportunity to participate in swimming. Transgender people belong in our sport and have every right to compete, and at the same time cisgender females have a right to a category of competition that is fair and meaningful.

“The current NCAA policy regarding when transgender females can compete in the women’s category can be unfair to cisgender females and needs to be reviewed and changed in a transparent manner.

“The discrimination and disrespect that has erupted as a result of this conversation has no place in our sport or in society. We strongly reject the criticism of the athletes and coaches who are merely following the rules.”

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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    • If I understand correctly, they need to be taking anti testosterone medication for a year before they can compete as women. So my guess is that in about 18 months you will see this happening more frequently. Men who didn’t make a team this year, can take one season off, take medication, and the next year compete as females. I think that is how it works, not 100% sure.

  1. If YOU had a $1,000,000 worth of corporate sponsorships in jeopardy if you pissed off the wrong radical left faction … would you be careful what you say?
    The LGQBT are ruthless. Even more so than BLM. They can/will intimidate / threaten all sorts of retaliation to a company if they don’t get their way.

  2. Why waste your time going on CNN to get hassled by those loons? You might as well tie a pork chop around your neck and walk into a pack of hungry wolves. And for what? Literally no one watches CNN anymore, so what good are you getting by going on there to be seen by uninterested people waiting at airports who can’t even hear the volume? He should fire his publicist for so stupidly putting him in that situation. The risk reward there was clearly not worth it.

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