Lia Thomas’ dominance is the antithesis of fair play

As I watched the MiraLAX Irritable Bowel Bowl on ESPN, it struck me that The Age of Reason is long gone. We’re now stuck in The Age of No Good Reason. 

This column has assiduously avoided presidential politics and policies unless they intersect with sports. 

Thus, when President Donald Trump boasted that he personally reached down and with a mighty hand rescued Big Ten football from the death grips of COVID-19, last season, I wrote that such a claim was malarkey. TV money, and only TV money, salvaged the season, regardless of its COVID-altered state. 

During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden issued this vow: “I promise you, there is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied your [transgender] daughter. … None. Zero.” 

Upon his inauguration, he reaffirmed his inflexible position on biological males competing in women’s sports: 

“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room or school sports.” 

But what about common sense, the kind predicated on fair play? As former males have destroyed the field in women’s athletic events, if you don’t both see and celebrate the “equity” in that inequity, run for your life: You will be condemned as a bigot, as transphobic. 

Of course, that’s an absurd conflation of realities that only the blindly wishful would blend in order to castigate. To explain those who prefer fair play over a stacked deck as mentally disturbed — phobic — has nothing to do with any phobia, unless fair-play advocates are in profound need of psychotherapy if not lobotomies. 

I’m left to lean on the visceral, the first-person “what-if.” 

If a beloved young woman in Biden’s life who had trained to reach the top of her sport at her level — a high school runner or tennis player, a college swimmer or basketball player — were to be denied her sporting chance to further succeed by former males in competition against her, Biden would be what? 

Pleased? Proud to have so fully supported those who deny the deserving what they so tirelessly trained to achieve? Would he find male-to-female champions as worthy of admirable achievement on behalf of equality when the achievement was predicated on preposterous inequality? 

The latest case of gone-too-far has been witnessed by the record-smashing performances of University of Pennsylvania female swimmer Lia Thomas, a former also-swam on Penn’s male team as Will Thomas. 

Lia Thomas
Lia Thomas
Penn Athletics

Even some of Thomas’s female teammates have been unable to perform the politically correct charade, making their disapproval known. Thomas’s successes as a female swimmer don’t come close to the minimal standards of passing the stink test. They reek of race-fixing — the antithesis of fair play. 

Still, unless they abjectly apologize for their inability to abandon common sense, these logical naysayers risk being tossed into that vat of intolerant evil “haters,” then boiled as transphobic. 

Reader Tony Delli Santi, has an idea. It’s borrowed from the Mel Feldman Method, the high school basketball coach who flipped the script on coaches who were eager to mercilessly stomp his girls by having them score for the winners to emphasize their unsportsmanlike avarice: 

“The Tony D. Method: The women swimmers go to the starting line [starting blocks or positions]. When the gun goes off, nobody moves. Let him-to-her compete alone. That would create even more attention, create a bigger embarrassment.” 

Lia Thomas has shattered women's NCAA swimming records.
Lia Thomas has shattered women’s NCAA swimming records.
UPenn Swim/Instagram

Not bad. Of course, after such inactive activism to promote or sustain fair play, the conspirators could face even presidential censure. But such are the risks in a world gone nuts. 

Selfish Mike Leach blasts ‘selfish’ players

The Quote of the Bowl Season belongs to Mississippi State coach Mike Leach. On the trend of star players declining to play in bowl games to protect their safety, thus their draft status and NFL signing money: 

“You’ve got an obligation to the place that helped build and develop you and finish it out in the bowl. … You owe it to your team, you owe it to your fans, you owe it to your coaches, and it’s the most bizarre thing in the world to me. 

“Somebody says, ‘Well, I can’t play one more game.’ They think they’re going to have a storied 10-year NFL career, and then they can’t play one more college game. Well, that’s ridiculous. … It’s selfish, too.” 

Admirable sentiments, to be sure, except perversely comical coming from Leach. 

Mike Leach
Mike Leach

Before arriving at Mississippi State for big dough — a reported base of $5 million per — Leach left as head coach at Texas Tech and Washington State — also coaching for big dough — under dark clouds, including accusations of mistreating an injured player. 

At Washington State, his teams accounted for 29 arrests — the most in the nation during his time. 

And now he lectures on loyalty, selfish decisions based on money, and choosing right over wrong. And those players who bolt before their bowl games may have been inspired by those coaches who have done the same, only for longer. It’s all a con. 

Small surprise that NBC studio regular Rodney Harrison interviewed Snoop Dogg as part of NBC’s Sunday night Saints-Buccaneers package. 

NBC has this season’s Super Bowl, and pandering phony Roger Goodell and his Minister of Social Rectitude, Jay-Z, have invited Snoop to be the latest to bind the NFL to halftime acts that betray both common decency and NFL conduct policy. 

Harrison must’ve run out of time before he could ask Dogg some pertinent questions, such as Dogg’s career-long references to men as “n—as” (despite the NFL’s conspicuous on-field pleas to “End Racism”), his vulgar sexual objectifications of women, homophobic rants, countless arrests (mostly for drugs and weapon possession) and his side career as a pornographer. 

Or perhaps Harrison wasn’t inclined to bring up any of that under the pretense that if Dogg is plenty good enough for Goodell, he’s plenty good enough for all of us. 

Woods rules coverage

Imagine, there are still some golf fans who were surprised over the weekend that NBC pretended that no other duo competed in the father-son event than Tiger Woods and Son. 

Some golf fans even seemed upset that host Dan Hicks would drool so much syrupy baloney about Woods that our TV screens would need a squeegee man. 

Tiger Woods and his son Charlie at the PNC Championship.
Tiger Woods and his son Charlie at the PNC Championship.
Getty Images

But TV, despite piles of growing evidence to the extreme contrary, is sticking to its 25-year story that Woods is the finest human to walk the Earth. 

What’s in a name? Which network, in a full-screen graphic this week, almost impossibly displayed Ralph Houk as “Ralph Houck”? That’s right, the MLB Network. 

Reader Rich Meyerson asks why New York NFL audiences have every Sunday been punished by the presence of yak-in-the-box Mark Schlereth. Is there a message within? Yes. It’s a sign to repent, sinners, repent! 

Where does the time go? Thanks to CBS, we learned this week that San Diego State won it first bowl game “since 2019.” Last year, SDSU turned down bowl invites due to COVID. 

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl championship trophy.
San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke holds up the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl championship trophy.
Kyle Okita/CSM/Shutterstock

Reader Bruce Desatnick: “The problem with the Jets and Giants is that both already stink next season.” Still, a lot has to do with how they make out in the mock drafts.