Former Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines has been at the forefront of the criticism of former Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, who competed against other women after transitioning from being male and eventually won an Ivy League Championship and NCAA Championship in the 500 free.
ESPN recently honored Thomas in a “Celebrating Women’s History Month” segment and Gaines was not happy about it.
The 12-time All-American swimmer blasted ESPN and Thomas over the honor in a tweet over the weekend.
“Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title,” Gaines tweeted Sunday. “He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible.
“If I was a woman working at ESPN, I would walk out. You’re spineless @espn.”
In the segment, ESPN highlighted Thomas’s transition, her win at the NCAA Championships, and the criticism she faced from people like Gaines.
“People will say, ‘Oh, she just transitioned so she would have an advantage so she could win.’ I transitioned to be happy,” Thomas said in the segment.
Gaines previously appeared in an attack ad for Herschel Walker during his Georgia Senate election campaign, which challenged the notion of transgender athletes competing against their chosen sex, even though it had nothing to do with the state of Georgia.