An NBC News op-ed by Purdue University professor Cheryl Cooky hailed Lia Thomas as a “trailblazer” following the transgender swimmer’s NCAA women’s championships win.
“She should be embraced in the history of progress that sports represent and recognized as the trailblazer that she is,” Cooky argued in the article, which ran Monday with the social media headline “We should be celebrating Lia Thomas like we did Jackie Robinson.”
- Cooky, a professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, said Thomas’ controversial victory Thursday in the 500-yard freestyle must be cheered by “anyone who cares about the advancement of sports, and women’s sports in particular.”
- She compared Thomas to Jackie “Robinson as the first Black MLB player, the first openly gay active player in the NBA, the first nonbinary U.S. athlete to participate in the Winter Olympics or the first woman to score in a Power Five college football game.”
The crowd was notably quiet after Thomas took place at the NCAA women’s swim championships in Atlanta, and some booing was heard.
- A May 2021 Gallup poll found that 62% of Americans think transgender athletes should only be allowed to compete on sports teams that correspond with their biological sex.