Dawn Staley media coverage may have influenced answer on trans athletes in women’s sports, OutKick writer says

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley’s support for transgender athletes in women’s sports went viral over the weekend ahead of the Gamecocks’ national championship win over Iowa.

OutKick writer Dan Zaksheske appeared on “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” on Monday and assessed what he thought about Staley’s answer. He pointed to a problem with those who cover women’s college basketball, suggesting the Hall of Famer’s answer was influenced by the protection she’s received.

Dawn Staley at the podium

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley speaks at a press conference after defeating Iowa in the finals of the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on April 7, 2024. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

“I do think there’s a problem, going back to my earlier answer on how there really isn’t a women’s college basketball media, she’s so protected,” Zaksheske said. “They protect the heck out of her. I almost feel like she knew that that’s the answer they wanted, and they have done her so much good service covering her. It’s always positive, except the God stuff.”

“Other than that, they love everything she stands for. She’s Black. She talks about racism. She talks about misogyny. She does everything they want her to do. They just protect and promote her. I don’t believe that Dawn Staley believes that. That’s my opinion.

“Based on her religious leanings and just the fact that she’s been in women’s college basketball for as long as she has. You think she wants men in women’s college basketball? I don’t think so. I think that moment when she took 15 seconds, it was an internal struggle: ‘What do I do? Do I say what I think, which is going to make the media that loves me mad at me? Or do I side with them?’ That’s a choice and she made it.”


Dawn Staley on the ladder

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley cuts the net after defeating Iowa in the finals of the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on April 7, 2024. (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Staley’s answer came on Saturday as the team prepared for the national championship.

“I’m of the opinion of, if you’re a woman, you should play. If you consider yourself a woman, and you want to play sports or vice versa, you should be able to play. That’s my opinion. You want me to go deeper?” she said.

When asked whether she thought “transgender women should be able to participate in women’s college basketball,” Staley responded, “Yes.”

“That’s the question you want to ask, I’ll give you that. Yes, yes. So, now the barnstormer people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me on one of the biggest days of our game, and I’m OK with that. I really am,” she added.

Dawn Staley vs NC State

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley watches from the bench during the first half of the Final Four game against North Carolina State in the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament, April 5, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Staley’s remarks kicked off a debate on social media.

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