I have been an advocate for equal rights and equal opportunities since the 1960s. I have recognized the need for some things to be codified into law in order to achieve equal rights and opportunities even when I wished such legislation were not necessary. I have never been particularly fond of political correctness and I still recoil a bit when things like Title IX are painted in politically correct portrayals; Title IX can stand on its own without rhetorical support.
Here we are in 2019 with all the benefits of politically correct living and #metoo awareness and a longed-for “post-racial society” – – and we have to see the collision of the politically correct version of living in 2019 colliding with the politically correct version of living in the 1970s. Title IX came into existence in 1972 and it made it mandatory for any institution that received Federal funds to provide equal access to athletic competition for women as compared to men. Title IX is not an unmitigated success; it requires – without saying so explicitly – that the revenue sports which are almost always male sports must share the revenues in a way that gives females an equivalent access to “the sporting experience”. That is the law; so be it…
Now, we find ourselves in 2019 with a situation wherein the idea of which human being is a male and which one is a female is not nearly as clear as it was when Title IX sprang to life in 1972. Let me be graphic for a moment:
- Back then, if you were born with a Y-chromosome and exhibited a penis and testicles, you were a male. Your “gender-identity” did not stray from those evidentiary circumstances despite whatever feelings or viewpoints as to your gender might be.
- Most importantly, the folks who enacted Title IX seemed to recognize that there comes a time in the physical maturation processes of the human animal that males are more athletically inclined as compared to similarly aged females. Therefore, they never saw the need to express with legislative precision that the women’s sports necessary to provide equal access to girls needed to be shielded from male participation.
Here in 2019, however, we have a societal tendency to allow each maturing and mature individual to identify for himself/herself the gender they believe expresses themselves as a whole. In most situations, this “gender-latitude” does not hurt anyone even if it may generate a tad of confusion in the minds of some observers who may not be totally on board with such latitude. Until we arrive at a situation such as the one that is ongoing in Connecticut today:
- A female track athlete who excelled in her field of competition and who anticipated scholarship offers based on her statewide dominance in her events now finds herself relegated to “deep also-ran” status because what would have been male athletes in 1972 are now allowed to compete on female teams in 2019 because “female” is their gender identification.
- This athlete has filed a Federal complaint saying that the Connecticut law that allows “biological males” to compete against her and other “biological females” defies the fundamental precepts of the Federal legislation that created Title IX.
Were I the judge hearing this case – – be secure in the knowledge that such a situation will never obtain – – I would demand that the lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendants define for me what they think Title IX is all about:
- If it is about equality and nothing more, then there should never be women’s teams and men’s teams. Equality is like uniqueness; equality is either the same thing for everyone or it is not the same thing for everyone and there are distinctions that need to be made.
- If it is about equal opportunity and access to sport as an adjunct activity to education at the high school and collegiate level, then separate teams are OK. But if the teams are separate, does that mean that there need be separation in terms of the genetic make-up of the eligible individuals on those teams.
I tend to be much deeper in the camp of Category 1 above. I would rule that the Connecticut law that opens up women’s teams to biological males defeats the purpose of the laws that created Title IX in the first place. We shall see how this one turns out – – but it is fun to sit back and see folks who have invested tons of their personal energy to the cause of “equality” having to take sides here with regard to where the boundaries of “equality” should be drawn.
Here is a link to a report about the complaint that was filed regarding all of this.
Whilst on the subject of lawsuits and things of that ilk, I see that MLB is encouraging teams to extend the safety netting on MLB fields beyond the ranges that are covered today. There have been several injury incidents this season – some of them quite serious – and given the litigious society we live in; you can crassly conclude that MLB is simply trying to limit legal exposure. And maybe that is all that is involved here…
Except, if I were trying to limit legal exposure, I would ALSO ban all cell phones and tablets from the ballpark and I would never think of providing free Wi-Fi to anyone in the facility. I recognize that fans can be injured – sometimes severely – by flying baseballs and bat fragments that go into the stands. I also recognize that many fans injured by such malevolent missiles were not paying attention to what was going on in the game at the time their body and the flying object intersected.
The simple fact of the matter is that there are tons of “fans” who are there to take pictures of themselves and their companions at the game only to post those pictures on the social media outlet of the moment. Having sat in the vicinity of many such agglomerations of “fans”, I have no idea if any of them could name the teams involved in the game on the field on front of them without peeking at the scoreboard. Here is an uncomfortable fact of life in any MLB stadium:
- If you are more attuned to laughing and gassing with your friends and taking pictures and pasting them to Facegram and/or Flipbook and/or WhoCares, you put yourself at risk at being hit by a flying all ball or bat much the same as a driver who is texting puts himself/herself at risk of a traffic accident.
There are not enough fans like me to make this a sustainable business strategy, but I would be happy to see a team ban cell phones and tablets from the venue and then take down the nets – except for behind home plate – with a warning to fans to pay attention to the action on the field – – – or else.
Finally, since today’s rant has focused on laws and potential litigation, let me close with a comment from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times related to new legislation in a country neighboring on the US:
“Quebec’s provincial legislature passed a controversial immigration bill that screens migrants based on their labor skills.
“Question No. 1 on the new application form: How good is your slap shot?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………