College wrestling season is only weeks away, and on Friday ESPN intentionally withheld key information in its celebration of the sport's first transgender wrestler.
Non-binary ESPN W writer Katie Barnes featured Mackenzie "Mack" Beggs, the girl who wanted to compete in boys' wrestling, but was forced against her will to win her last 92 matches and two state high school girls' championships in Texas. Beggs is now a member of the Life University men's wrestling team that will start its season in a few weeks, and Barnes is riding this story for all it's worth, skipping over some crucial facts.
Texas rivals and their parents were angered with Beggs' unfair advantage in girls' competition because she was taking low doses of testosterone injections. The detractors are portrayed by Barnes as mean.
Also conveniently absent from the ESPN story is any mention of the psychological problems that often accompany those with gender dysphoria. Beggs has previously contemplated suicide and spent time in a mental hospital.
Barnes also makes it sound as if Beggs will waltz right into the starting lineup of a college men's wrestling team, ignoring the returning All-American at her weight (125 pounds). In a video interview, the Life U. men's wrestling coach says Beggs rejected a scholarship offer from the college women's program and chose to walk on at his school. Barnes doesn't mention any of this either. She's a token: the first trans college wrestler in America, no matter if she ever competes or not.
Despite this troubled girl's difficulties in life, Barnes' story assumes that Beggs' journey has something to teach us all. Barnes helped produce an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about Beggs, which will air again Sunday on ESPN at 2 p.m. Eastern and on ABC at 4:30 Eastern.
The film "is the kind of gift that I seem to never stop opening," Barnes writes about capitalizing on the emotional struggles of Beggs, who was "assigned female at birth ... .":
"What drew me to Mack's story was the humanity of it. He's just a kid from Texas who loves to wrestle. He's also transgender. After coming out to his family, he socially transitioned his freshman year of high school and began hormone replacement therapy the fall of his sophomore year. ..."
Beggs has since "changed" her birth certificate gender to "male."
The co-director of the documentary, "Mack Wrestles," is Taylor Hess, who remarkably says there's a decline in sports participation by youths because "Sports simply aren't welcoming."
That's not the fault of the LGBT "woke" sports media, whose coverage of LGBT athletes is gleefully positive. Barnes' story fits a template that glorifies LGBT athletes and portrays them as heroic victims of straights.
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) executive director Eliza Byard, whines: "The fact right now is that LGBTQ youth do not have equal access to [athletic] environments. Our research indicates that they would feel more comfortable talking to a cop than they would to a coach."
Barnes compares Beggs' story to that of two boys who, as transgenders, are mopping up in Connecticut girls' high school track and field competitions. Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller "are at the center of a controversy" resulting from a foolish Connecticut policy allowing boys to compete on girls' teams. Though Barnes says most people can't name a single transgender athlete competing in those states. Honestly, these names have become famous at the expense of the nearly anonymous girls they're out-sprinting.
Every time one of the boys in Connecticut wins (which is often), "the outrage gets piled on," Barnes complains. In June, Alliance Defending Freedom — "co-founded by evangelical leader James Dobson" — filed a Title IX complaint on behalf of girls who are getting cheated by Miller and Yearwood.
Life University's wrestling season opens Nov. 2, and Barnes writes, "Mack says he can't wait to wrestle this season and get back on the mat. He's an athlete, after all. It's where he belongs." While Barnes dreams of smashing collegiate success for Beggs, her dishonest reporting ignores reality. Life U., an NAIA school, has an All-American named Randy McCray Jr. ahead of Beggs at 125 pounds. They're also in the same class academically, meaning Beggs might never crack the starting lineup.