Sam Ponder backs Riley Gaines’ stance on Biden trans athletes bill

Another ESPN talent has spoken out against trans athletes competing in women’s sports.

Earlier this month, “SportsCenter” anchor Sage Steele defended former Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who was attacked by trans activists while attempting to give a speech at San Francisco State University.

On Wednesday, ESPN host Samantha Ponder, 37, also supported Gaines in opposition of bill presented by the Biden administration earlier this month.

The proposed update to Title IX legislation would prohibit blanket bans of transgender athletes competing against women.

“Under the guise of competitive fairness?” Gaines asked in a tweet showing a video of former Penn swimmer Lia Thomas calling a bill from the Biden administration a “good start,” but also calling for the bill to extend beyond Kindergarten through eighth grade and apply to high school and college athletes as well.

“Are you really trying to say you would have won a national title against the men?” Gaines continued. “Does it not break your heart to see women lose out on these opportunities? The Biden Admins proposed bill denies science, truth, and common sense.”

ESPN’s Samantha Ponder spoke out against transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.

Ponder, the host of ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” football pregame show, quote-tweeted Gaines and supported the former Kentucky swimmer.

“This would take away so many opportunities for biological women and girls in sports,” Ponder tweeted. “It is a shame that we are needing to fight for the integrity of Title IX in 2023 and the reason it was needed in the first place. #savewomensports.”

Steele, who had previously been the only ESPN talent to speak out on the general issue of transgender athletes, also backed Ponder, tweeting a 100 emoji, adding “Thank you, @samponder #IStandWithRileyGaines #SaveWomensSports #TitleIX.”

Thomas competed at Penn for three years as a male before transitioning to female and setting a number of women’s records.

Gaines swam against Thomas in the national championships last year and spoke out after the NCAA opted to give a trophy to Thomas but not her when the two tied for fifth in the 200-meter race.

A fact sheet shared by the Department of Education at the time the new legislation was proposed said that “under the proposed regulation, schools would not be permitted to adopt or apply a one-size-fits-all policy that categorically bans transgender students from participating on teams consistent with their gender identity.”

However, the fact sheet noted that there could be cases where prohibitions against biological men competing against women could remain.

Riley Gaines slammed the Biden administration's proposed update to Title IX that would prohibit blanket bans of transgender athletes competing in women's sports.
Riley Gaines (right) slammed the Biden administration’s proposed update to Title IX that would prohibit blanket bans of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“For older students, especially at the high school and college level, the Department expects that sex-related criteria that limit participation of some transgender students may be permitted, in some cases, when they enable the school to achieve an important educational objective, such as fairness in competition, and meet the proposed regulation’s other requirements,” the Department of Education said.