Trans women competing against biological women is one of the most hot-button issues in sports. Now, former NBA forward Matt Barnes has given his two cents on the matter.
He doesn’t think trans women should play in the WNBA,
Barnes spoke to VladTV and laid out his take on the issue.
“To each his own; you wanna be whatever you want to be,” Barnes said. “Whatever you’re born, I feel like you should play in that space.”
Barnes’ take isn’t uncommon at all. Being “pro-make your choice” as he puts it, while also thinking women’s sports should be limited to biological women, are not mutually exclusive opinions.
“Sports is different, Barnes said. “Sports is a different beast. I think you’ve seen a trans fighter too, right? Yeah, you know what I mean, to me, it’s just, I don’t like that.”
“If you’re born a woman I think you should play women’s sports, and if you’re born a man you should play men’s sports. But if you want to do whatever you want to do with your life, I respect that. It’s not my business.”
“I just think the sports thing is a little different.”
Barnes and the interview went on to discuss one of the most high-profile instances of a trans woman competing against biological women: University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas. As the two mentioned, Thomas was an average swimmer on the male side but won championships against women.
They also explored a hypothetical scenario involving Kevin Durant being dropped into the WNBA. They agreed that “It’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed,” Barnes said.
Should This Logic Be Applied To All Sports?
So, if the thought is that trans women playing against women in the WNBA crosses a line, then isn’t that the case in any other sport and at any level?
There’s room to debate this. A clip laid into the interview features another former NBA player — Gilbert Arenas — talking about his daughters playing against trans players, but that he didn’t care because none of them were decent.
Barnes joked about that too at the end of the interview. He and the interviewer have a back-and-forth about how being a trans woman doesn’t automatically make someone a great athlete.
“You might just not be s— period at sports,” he said.
So then is the answer to assess each trans athlete on a case-by-case basis and allow those who aren’t any good to play?
But even then, wouldn’t a trans woman be taking away a spot from a biological woman?
You can spend all day running through these scenarios.
There are so many variables at play, but the truth of the matter is that a trans woman playing women’s sports takes away an opportunity from a biological woman no matter what.
If they’re talented, they’ll take trophies. They make it in the WNBA, they’ll take a salary and a job.
If they’re not talented, they’ll still take opportunities.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle