Best of Whitlock: Sarah Fuller Publicity Stunt Scores In Make-A-Wish Culture War

As a gift to OutKick’s loyal readers, we are proud to present some of Jason Whitlock’s best columns from 2020. Happy New Year. Enjoy!

The people who hate football and the people who spent the whole summer trying to cancel college football over COVID concerns came together to celebrate the game Saturday. 

Sarah Fuller briefly made football socially acceptable for America’s most ardent virtue-signalers. That was her primary accomplishment, pleasing Make A Wish America.

At the beginning of the second half of Vanderbilt’s SEC football game against Missouri, Fuller trotted onto the field for the opening kickoff. She knocked the ball to the Missouri 37-yard line and immediately jogged to the sideline out of harm’s way. 

The moment was hailed as history. ESPN’s SportsCenter Twitter account claimed Fuller’s kick changed the game. Others said she made history. She’s the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game. 

I don’t believe she played football. She scored a point in the culture war. The people who believe the only difference between men and women is in how they choose to identify consider Fuller a poor woman’s Jackie Robinson.

She broke big time football’s gender barrier. 

But did she? 

Jackie Robinson was Major League Baseball’s rookie of  the year in 1947. He finished fifth in MVP voting. In order to break the color barrier, Robinson had to play at a Hall of Fame level on Day 1. And he had to do it while facing a grotesque level of harassment.  

Sarah Fuller received a standing ovation for kicking the ball 30 yards or so and high-tailing it to the sidelines to be greeted by the winless head coach using her to save his job. 

This wasn’t Jackie Robinson 2.0. It was Make A Wish.

I don’t blame Sarah Fuller. She’s an accomplished, high-level Division 1 athlete. She’s a soccer goalie for the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team. She’s been baited into believing competing against men is her North star. Maybe it is. It shouldn’t be. 

Vanderbilt doesn’t have a men’s soccer team. Positive COVID tests created the need for Vanderbilt to find a kicker this week.

Credit coach Derek Mason for dampening a finger and recognizing the biggest wish among football haters is that women play with and coach men. In the NFL, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians felt the same wind blowing and is one of the league’s most popular coaches because he’s named a couple of women to his staff.

Two years ago, Toyota paid broadcaster Jim Nantz to voice a commercial that created the legend that a young girl, Toni Harris, earned a football scholarship. Harris was on a high school team in Detroit, but only took the field a couple of times during her “career.” She didn’t earn a football scholarship. 

The culture warriors gave Harris one as a part of their Make A Wish program.  They put her in a national TV commercial, too. There’s a lot of money being spent to create the illusion that women can and should be playing football against men.

The people spending the money hate football. It epitomizes “toxic masculinity”… except when women are on the field. Football should also be shuttered because of the head trauma dangers… unless women are playing. Oh, and during this COVID pandemic, it’s irresponsible for these Power 5 schools to exploit these college athletes… unless there’s a woman playing.  

My critics will argue I’m threatened by women playing football. No. Not at all. If they’re good enough, who cares?

My gripe is that it diminishes these female athletes. Sarah Fuller is an elite soccer player. She’s a terrible football player, arguably the worst to ever take the field in the SEC. The announcers during the game said Mason wasn’t comfortable using her kick field goals unless they were inside the 15-yard line. There were pictures of her warming up in pregame kicking 14-yard field goals. 

Her athleticism does not need to be validated by competing against men in any capacity, let alone in a sport that is not her specialty. Treating Sarah Fuller like she’s a special-needs kid does not uplift the cause of equality. 

The overwhelming majority of people know this. The American media has been hijacked by activists and social media apps designed to amplify the voices of the illogical. 

Saturday morning via Twitter I asked a couple of harmless questions: 1) Does Vanderbilt have a men’s soccer team? 2) Did Vanderbilt choose the best candidate or the most publicity?

My mentions were overrun with negativity. You would have thought I’d spoken poorly of a religious figure. You would’ve thought most of America disagreed with my skepticism. 

When I published a poll asking what was the driving force powering Vanderbilt’s decision to use Fuller as a kicker, 15,000 people responded within an hour. Forty-two percent of the respondents said Vanderbilt was virtue signaling. Another 39 percent said it was a publicity stunt. 

Most people agreed with me. 

The purpose of Twitter is to program the mainstream media into promoting lunacy. Mission accomplished. Sarah Fuller is Jackie Robinson.

Written by Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock is a longtime sports writer, TV personality, radio host, podcaster and the newest member of the Outkick family.
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  1. Every female athlete truly believing they can compete with elite male athletes on the football field needs to watch “Lucas” and “Not Another Teen Movie”. In all seriousness. Whitlock is spot on with “Make a Wish”.

    This is a joke. This is pretend. This is for all of the Justice League, Star Wars, Game of Thrones nerds that believe in Hollywood and not the real world.

  2. Great article. One comment I have is although Vanderbilt doesn’t have a men’s D1 team, they have a men’s club team. I can guaruntee the men’s club team has atleast ten+ guys who can kick further. Club teams aren’t half bad and there is a massive difference between a man’s leg and a women’s leg lol

  3. This is right up there with the NFL and how over the top they were when it was time for Michael Sam to be drafted (stopping the damn broadcast for a 7th rd pick). Trying to appease the same masses who despise and openly hate the game of football all for the moment of being the belle of the social media ball.

  4. Also did they literally just ask the soccer coach who to get? Seems there was no try out and she was reffered for the position. It’s not like the coaches watched girls tape and were noticing her leg lol should tax dollars fund this when there wasn’t equal opporrtunity for a man to get position? Hmm

  5. I didn’t care much about this stunt until Fuller said this after the game,

    “I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to.”

    Huh??? She didn’t “do” anything but show up in her uniform, and didn’t “set her mind” to do anything difficult other than say “okay”. For her to come in and take credit as though she competed and achieved something amazing based on her special character, abilities or qualities is simply ridiculous and pretentious. Be honest. This was a stunt by a team and coach with nothing to lose. Do your cute little stunt, but please don’t act like you did something to earn it.

  6. I am about to share an unpopular opinion that must become mainstream, if this madness is to ever go away.

    Women either get equal treatment….or no special protections.

    Simple as that. And it is horrifying. But it is simply wrong and inconsistent for women to be allowed to “play” as men, yet men must play lower so the women do not get hurt.

    Either rid sports of Men’s/Women’s distinctions, or end this charade.

    And if the charade continues at the behest of the Twitterverse, we need to loudly insist that protections are removed. Meaning two things: as a kicker, she can be blocked or hit as hard as any other player. And also, that men can compete for her position on the soccer field.

    Of course, all this has terrible consequences for our daughters, and that is sad. But I trust you are raising her right and showing her a path forward in the midst of this madness. If we ever want it to go away, we need to insist it be taken to its logical conclusion.

    • ‘Women either get equal treatment….or no special protections.’

      This is why the biological argument always wins…no matter how wokey woke people get…women aren’t going to get equal treatment to men. They get special protections based largely first on the biological differences.

  7. I think it’s a shame that her story got so much ink, especially after her embarrassing kickoff. NOBODY…….and I mean NOBODY, is talking about what Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson did today in their game against Kent State. The score was 70-41, so it was obviously entertaining…..BUT……Jaret Patterson just had the GREATEST GAME BY A RUNNING BACK IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY TODAY!!!! 409 yards rushing and 8 TD’S…..which tied the record for TD ‘s in a game. The media needs to get off their high horse and acknowledge what Jaret Patterson did today!!!!

  8. What’s really funny is these same women yell and scream when a biological male wins all of the track and field events at their high school simply because he had decided to defy science and become a woman. As soon as transvestite men start dominating women’s sports at the college level we will all hear a totally different narrative.

  9. But but but!! ESPN’s Heather Dimich said it was a huge accomplishment and she was going to stand up in her living room to cheer! Come to think of it, that 30 yard kickoff is a lot like Dimwich’s “analyst” abilities, pretty much on par with a solid middle schooler, maybe high school freshman.

    Btw, when our school lost their kicker a few years back we brought in a short, beer bellied fraternity brother to kick field goals and kick offs. He managed to stay on the field and actually play football. Guess Heather Dimwich didn’t get the scoop for that one.

  10. Honestly surprised at how cynical the Outkick audience is on this one. Do I believe this is a historical accomplishment for the sake of gender equality? Heck no. Do I believe this will have any impact on the number of girls who want to play football? No way. But I also can’t blame a coach of a winless football team in arguably the most dominant conference in college football, especially during the year of COVID for taking advantage of a situation that will bring in some positive PR for the program. I also don’t think it takes anything away from Fuller for taking advantage of an opportunity, whether it was a publicity stunt or not. And I’d argue that most of you probably would have done the same thing in the same situation.

    • Why would anyone here do what this coach did (that is, hide failure behind woke political posturing)? Why do you assume most people here would not try to find the best kicker they could find to play? As mentioned elsewhere, even a club soccer male would have performed better, been less of an injury risk, and not have made a mockery of a real issue, that being gender lines in sports.

      If I am a coach of a girls wrestling team, and one of my athletes goes out for some reason, and I bring in a male to “bring some positive PR for my program”, do you also approve of that? Or are you cynical? How about if it is your daughter whom he displaces from the spot on the team? How about if it is your daughter who gets injured when he mauls her in a head-to-head match?

      • All I’m saying is why does this have to be about gender issues? From what I heard, she was the best kicker they could find on campus on short notice. And if it also happens to bring in more viewers then so be it. Would you rather they cancel their game because a girl was the only one they could find. I just don’t know why we have to attack either side or why this has to be a gender issue. Why can’t we just see this as someone taking advantage of an opportunity? It doesn’t have to be a historical moment, it can just be a college athlete stepping up for their school in a time of need. Why must we always qualify things by gender?

        As far as your wrestling analogy, if you found yourself in a pinch and an inexperienced male with no wrestling experience was the best you could find on short notice, and your opponent had not objection, why the heck not? He wouldn’t be taking anyone’s spot on the team, just filling in for an injured player. And if it happens to bring in more revenue, I don’t see the problem.

        • I find it extremely unlikely she was the best kicker on campus. But I have no doubt she was a capable kicker who would serve a very important purpose of proving a social justice point and impress all the people who usually despise college football.

          • She wasn’t the best kicker on campus, that is the base of her point. You actually have to believe that as this women is believing. She is buying the bs narative and I get it, it is inspiring but trying to compete against men in men’s sports is a lost cause.

        • Rachel, I appreciate you spend 14,99, stick around for a while and hopefully you’ll learn or two from Jason. It’s a steep hill to climb from espn. Best of wishes having you hear in our community. I hope you have thick skin with these first opinions. As stated earlier, thank you for your subscription, we hope the red pill can save you.

        • I appreciate where you are coming from, but you are being to idealistic. You said from what I heard they were in a pinch and she was best kicker on campus. She didn’t have a tryout so no she wasn’t. The boys club team has 10+ stronger kickers and probably most of the football team does. I played college soccer, she I even knew a girl from my hometown who played at Vandy. Girla can not kick as far as guys period. Her kickoff proved every doubter correct. It is possible you don’t see a story because the tables are agaimst men here. This is a woke moment, the first step to understand your take here is to realize there is NO wa she was the best prospect. I would be 10k there are atleast 10 guys on there mens club team with better legs. A tryout could have been done, and her being on the soccer team givea almost zero forsight. Highschool boys kick 50-60 yarders in kicking camps, the gap in kicking is as immense as the other positions. D2 kickers regulary get NFL tryouts, there were other better options this was a reach and maybeba reflection as to why they are winless and not a reason to double down on there failed coaching mentality. This probably defeated hia team more.

    • Positive PR doesn’t cover up actions that stink.

      In case you didn’t know…Vandy didn’t even score a point today in the game. Lost 41-0. But hey it will always be remembered for a 30 yard squib kick.

  11. All the ‘sexism’ comments I’ve noticed from emasculated men on twitter who protested too much to Whitlock’s claims are really about thinking women can and should do masculine things rather than encouraging women to be feminine like God intended. There is no gender equality…men are supposed to be masculine and women are supposed to be feminine and those traits complement one another to produce the best versions of ourselves. You can clearly see this in our biological differences which have never changed no matter how ‘woke’ we are or thinking biological differences in men and women is the same thing as skin color differences in black and white men. It’s not even close…black and white men are men.

    Jason and I think similarly…bring up any hint of ‘the patriarchy’ to the hornets nest of twitter and watch the inferior men come out to lament. Put it to the test on a poll and you see what most people think.

  12. Having her do a short squib kick was belittling to say the least. That said, this type of stuff just makes me shrug and say “Whatever.” It’s not worth giving a fuck one way or the other. Hopefully she got what she wanted out of it. Hopefully she / future female kickers don’t get hurt (e.g. returns).

  13. Some where out there, there is a female who can actually kick a football. This girl was obviously not the one. Why pick a goalie to kick? Maybe should have been trying to block a kick? Even the female goalie the Lightning hired in the early 2000s could play reasonably well. This was simply a bad publicity stunt. The quota generation will always cause anyone with real talent to be questioned on why they got picked.

  14. Once again Jason you are right, right, right. First off, leftists and Marxists hate football. Next, this was 100% a SJ publicity stunt. It would have been hilarious to see the leftist snowflakes’ reaction if that kick had been returned and some blocker had pancaked her.

  15. Another great article and awakening for those spineless sport talking heads that have sold there souls to gender identity and the worshiping and promoting unqualified women in male sports. To promote feminist and anti masculinity to destroy the sport. Why don’t the WNBA and Women soccer allow transgender man so we can celebrate that a bunch of dam hypocrites. Keep up the good work outkick exposing these bootlickers

  16. As a college softball coach, this whole episode is infuriating. It’s not the fact of her going out and kicking a squibber 30 yards down the field, it’s the media’s fawning over her (not really her, itself in its virtue signaling, actually) for it. Meanwhile, Fuller is a true athlete on the soccer field, as are the players I coach on the softball field. Fuller and our players train for our sports almost like a full-time job and this is what gets praise? These idiot sportswriters pretend as though the only reason women aren’t playing men’s football is because of discrimination. How about a Harvard or an Oberlin or pretty much any other leftist college (read: 99% of them) field a football team of women and play the regular schedule against men’s teams? If discrimination is the only thing keeping them off the field, then it should go just fine.

    • Coach, I feel sorry for her.

      She is a P5 athlete. You don’t get there without being very talented and ultra competitive.

      She is (sooner or later) going to lay her head down and realize that in this moment she was charity case and it’ll eat at her competitive nature for a long time.

    • Amen, I know that feeling very well. When people ask me what it was like to play football I say “painful”. That’s what I remember most. Taking 3 Advil before practice to keep the pain in my legs under control and 3 more immediately after to keep from feeling like a car hit me. I was a scout team running back in High School and that was painful enough, I can only imagine what a D1 college or pro player feels like.

      Yes its a violent game, but its also one of the few things left in America that sets us apart from the rest of the world. No one else plays American football, least not the way we play it. The football mentality was one of the pivotal ingredients in erasing the Third Reich from the face of the earth and in chasing the brutal Japanese Empire back to the hole they slithered out of. Thank God for football.

  17. After 8 and 9 year old football girls can’t play with boys, woman can’t play with men. It is a stone cold fact! Can not be debated. There isn’t a junior high, high , ncaa or nfl team a woman can make. Even if they identify as a cis.

  18. Compare this with the Vols a few years ago. Their kicker got sick or was injured in warmups and the staff grabbed some dude who had kicked in HS and suited him up. UT has a women’s soccer team as well, but they went with someone who could possibly kick a field goal and make an extra point. Anyone with eyes could see that Sarah’s kicks were coming out with a very low trajectory and would likely have been blocked. No dig on her, she’s used to kicking a soccer ball off the grass. But IF you are going to have her out there, then have her kick the ball long and stay on the field for the play. Otherwise it looks completely like a stunt. It was a stunt.

  19. Let’s see how “real” this whole debacle shakes out. Put your woke virtue-signaling out there Vandy for the world to see this upcoming Saturday in Athens. Have her kick one “deep” and let the cards fall where they may when she hopefully has to make a tackle. THEN we’ll see if she’s really a P5 college football player or not. I think we all know the answer……

  20. Again, Whitlock hits the bulls eye. But I’m not so sure if this is from people who hate football as much as it is from people who hate people who like football. The goal is to destroy any and every thing others like..,especially “others” who are men.

  21. Jason I can wait till the transgender athletes destroy woman sport and see what side the woke social justice warrior take .I think Sarah Fuller is a smart young woman to let her self be used to diminish woman athletes all over this country .By making that kick she show that woman have no place in men’s sport .

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