DeWine criticizes GOP advancing transgender girl sports ban

Jun 24, 2021, 8:34 PM | Updated: Jun 25, 2021, 10:55 am

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Republican governor questioned Friday the need for a legislative ban on transgender girls competing in sports, pushing back on GOP lawmakers’ attempt to pass the controversial measure.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s comment appearing to oppose such a policy came one day after fellow Republicans in the House inserted the ban into an unrelated bill, saying such a prohibition was needed to protect girls from unfair competition.

But DeWine said there were better ways to deal with the question.

“This issue is best addressed outside of government through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions,” he said.

The governor’s spokesperson said it was too early to say whether DeWine would veto the ban if it came to his desk.

The OHSAA has consistently said there’s no evidence of a problem posed by transgender girls competing in sports, and the number of such participants is minor.

The proposal, titled the Save Women’s Sports Act, would require schools and higher education institutions in the state to designate “separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex.”

“It is a shameful day in this body today,” Democratic state Rep. Michael Skindell said on the House floor Thursday. “This is one of the most extreme political attacks on transgender people in the nation.”

Supporters say the measures are necessary to maintain fairness and protect the integrity in women’s sports in Ohio, though lawmakers have not pointed to a single instance where this has been an issue in the state.

“Across our country, female athletes are currently losing scholarships, opportunities, medals and training opportunities,” GOP Rep. Jena Powell, a cosponsor of the bill, said on the House floor as Democrats pounded their desks in opposition.

House Republicans added the ban to a bill allowing college athletes to be compensated for use of their name, image or likeness in promotions. The legislation must go back to the Senate for approval of the transgender prohibition.

“I continue to strongly pursue legislation to ensure student athletes receive in law their rights to their own name, image, & likeness by the July 1, 2021 deadline,” GOP Sen. Niraj Antani, the sponsor of the measure to compensate college athletes for their likeness, tweeted. “I’m optimistic in my prospects & I will continue to work hard to get this done for our student athletes.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has ruled in 48 cases of transgender students applying to compete since September 2015 and says and there have been only 11 transgender female approvals.

“Those 11 approvals have resulted in no disruption of competition regarding competitive equity and they have not caused any loss in female participation, championships or scholarship opportunities,” Tim Stried, a spokesperson for the association, said in a statement. “The OHSAA is confident that our policy, which is based on medical science, is appropriate to address transgender requests and works for the benefit of all student-athletes and member schools.”

The college athlete compensation bill would prohibit universities or college athletic conferences from punishing athletes if they are compensated based on their sports performance.

Such compensation could involve anything from a book signing at a bookstore to a deal with a local restaurant. Exceptions include sponsorships for marijuana, alcohol, tobacco and casinos.

Athletes would have to notify universities 15 days ahead of signing endorsement contracts. The measure mirrors similar efforts in other states and on the federal level as athletes fight for rights to compensation.

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day has testified before Senate and House committees that Ohio schools need the bill passed quickly to be competitive with colleges and universities in states with similar laws.

___

Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Christian Pulisic of the United States attends a press conference before a training session at Al-G...
Associated Press

US star Pulisic on track to play against Dutch in World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Christian Pulisic is on track to play for the United States in its World Cup round of 16 match against the Netherlands on Saturday, Pulisic left Tuesday’s final group stage match against Iran at halftime after bruising his pelvic bone in a collision with the goalkeeper while scoring in the 38th […]
1 day ago
Spain players leave the pitch at the end of the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan and Sp...
Associated Press

Spain in recovery mode after losing to Japan at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It’s not how Spain imagined reaching the knockout phase of the World Cup: finishing the group stage with a loss and having to rely on other teams to help it advance. Spain survived but heads into the round of 16 against Morocco with bruised confidence after losing 2-1 to Japan. “We […]
1 day ago
FILE - Philadelphia Eagles' Josh McCown speaks during a news conference after an NFL wild-card play...
Associated Press

Josh McCown hopeful to get a coaching opportunity

Josh McCown played quarterback for 12 teams across nearly two decades in the NFL, and learned a different offense almost every season. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge and experience as a coach. “I love being part of teams and being part of a group,” McCown said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “You […]
1 day ago
Belgium's head coach Roberto Martinez, left, hugs Belgium's Eden Hazard after the World Cup group F...
Associated Press

Belgium’s golden generation is over, where now for Martinez?

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — His eyes welling up, Roberto Martinez said his goodbyes and left, his next whereabouts unknown. It is the end of an era for Belgium’s golden generation. But for the man who led it to third place at the 2018 World Cup, it is the beginning of something new. A return to […]
1 day ago
head coach Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands talks with Frankie de Jong as he leaves the pitch duri...
Associated Press

US coach Berhalter to draw on Dutch lessons at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Gregg Berhalter knows plenty about Dutch soccer — he turned pro in the Netherlands 28 years ago. He will look to draw on the lessons he learned there when he coaches the United States against Oranje on Saturday for a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar. The […]
1 day ago
Argentina's Lionel Messi during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Argentina at ...
Associated Press

Messi, Argentina try to avoid World Cup upset vs. Australia

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Australia’s players speak in glowing, almost reverential terms about Lionel Messi. “He just does things that, you know, no one else can do,” forward Mathew Leckie said. Milos Degenek went even further. “Probably,” the Socceroos defender said, “the best footballer ever to grace the game.” Imagine, then, how they’ll be feeling […]
1 day ago
DeWine criticizes GOP advancing transgender girl sports ban