Dawn Staley

The jig is up for homophobic sports bros. For years, they’ve railed against transgender athletes in the name of women’s sports, claiming they want to protect the game. But in reality, their lambasting of trans athletes is centered around discrimination.

The crew’s malevolent motives were exposed Saturday at the NCAA women’s Final Four, when a reporter from a low-rung sports aggregation site asked South Carolina coach Dawn Staley about trans participation in women’s sports… a topic that had absolutely nothing to do with the tournament or upcoming matchup.

With the championship game roughly 24 hours away, Staley could’ve brushed off the disingenuous inquiry. Instead, she answered in the affirmative.

“If you consider yourself a woman, and you want to play sports, or vice versa, you should be able to play. Do you want me to go deeper?,” she said, baiting the blogger.

When asked again, Staley was even more direct.

“Yes,” she replied bluntly.

But it was her last line that was the real winner.

“So, now the barnstorm of people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me in one of the biggest days of our game,” she said. “And I’m OK with that.”

And I’m OK with that.

In other words, “Try me.”

And boy, did they ever.

Staley was harassed on social media leading into Sunday’s game, with the online MAGA crowd predictably flooding her timeline. On one of the most biggest days for women’s basketball, they wanted to make the conversation about anything but the game.

Unfortunately for them, they failed.

South Carolina ousted Iowa in a classic championship affair, and Staley cemented her place among the greatest coaches in college basketball history, men or women. She was class from start to finish.

“You have to let young people be who they are,” said Staley afterwards, via ESPN. “But you also have to guide and navigate them. They made history. They etched their names in the history books.”

She also congratulated Iowa and Caitlin Clark, who will go down as maybe the most consequential player in women’s college basketball history.

In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s win, Staley and the Gamecocks received shoutouts from some of the most respected people in the world, including Barack Obama and LeBron James.

“Congrats to @GamecockWBB and Coach @DawnStaley on a perfect season and their third title! It’s been an incredible year for women’s basketball, and this team was so disciplined and talented. Well deserved,” the former POTUS posted.

“Protect Dawn Staley AT ALL COST!! No if, ands or buts!” added LeBron.

The person who asked Staley about trans athletes, meanwhile, was widely ridiculed.

Sunday’s star-studded matchup between Iowa and USC capped a historic season for women’s college hoops. Clark and other charismatic standouts–Angel Reese, JuJu Watkins, Paige Bueckers–turned the sport in a national phenomenon.

Friday’s semifinal between Iowa and UConn averaged 14.2 million viewers on ESPN, making it the network’s most-viewed basketball broadcast of all-time.

Experts say those numbers mean that Iowa and USC might’ve drawn 20 million viewers Sunday, just like a big NFL game.

OutKick, the outlet that posed the trans athlete question to Staley, has an embarrassing history of antigay sports commentary. Their bloggers blasted the positive media coverage of out gay NFL coach Kevin Maxen, among many other indignities.

Its writers chastise (mostly Black) athletes when they “don’t stick to sports,” yet inject their bigotry into every facet of their coverage.

Staley exposed them last weekend, once and for all.

Related: Dawn Staley supports trans athletes at Final Four, Lisa Bluder dodges the question

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