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March 26, 2024 | Press Releases

ICYMI: Steube, Armistead Pen Fox News Op-Ed on Safeguarding Women’s Olympic Sports

WASHINGTON  U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Lainey Armistead, former team captain for the West Virginia State University women’s soccer team, penned an opinion piece discussing the dangers of men competing against women in sports and why it’s critical to stand for fair competition. Read the opinion piece in Fox News and below:

“Women’s sports is strictly for women and girls.” If we had said that to anyone in 1972 when Title IX was signed into the Civil Rights Act, we might have met blank stares for stating the obvious; we might as well have said, “The sky is blue.”

But 52 years later, that statement is seen as controversial. Women’s sports now need more legislative action and legal protection, because even the laws and federal rules in place to protect women’s sports face fierce opposition and radical misinterpretations.

Why is this happening? Let’s take a look at a recent example with USA Boxing, the governing body that is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

Against all scientific and common-sense knowledge, USA Boxing approved a rule change that allows men who identify as women to compete against women. While the sporting body includes certain regulations related to hormone requirements, those regulations aren’t nearly enough to ensure safety and fair competition since science has shown that men retain natural athletic advantages even after suppressing testosterone.

USA Boxing’s rule change goes against what other athletic associations across the world are acknowledging: women deserve fair competition. 

Sporting associations like World Athletics and the International Rugby League have taken steps to ensure safety and fairness for women who participate in those sporting leagues. NXXT Golf recently changed their policies too, but only after a man won a women’s tournament.

As a soccer player, Lainey Armistead is familiar with the physical and competitive differences when a man steps onto the field. She grew up playing pick-up games against her brothers and other boys, and recognized they are generally faster, stronger and bigger than girls. Soccer can be a high-contact sport, and she has seen her teammates suffer concussions as well torn ACL and ankle injuries. 

As a team captain on the West Virginia State University soccer team, she saw men competing in other women’s sports and knew she had to stand up for her teammates and girls competing in sports everywhere by joining a lawsuit to protect the state’s women’s sports law, which was upheld by a federal district court last year.

However, the physicality in soccer isn’t as intense as competitive fighting. In women’s MMA, one female fighter suffered a broken skull when she fought a man. A 38-year-old former U.S. Army Special Forces member overpowered his opponent in his debut fight in women’s MMA. It’s no wonder so many competitive women fighters are criticizing USA Boxing’s decision.

Congress should not have to take action to prevent men from hitting women to win championship titles. But because of USA Boxing’s insane policy, Rep. Steube, along with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., introduced The Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The bill prohibits any governing body recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee from allowing men to participate in athletic events intended for females.

Women like Lainey have spent decades training to be the best athlete they can be. Some go on to achieve scholarships for college sports, and others go on to compete at elite levels with the hopes of attaining the international spotlight at the Olympics. 

Several years ago, U.S. women’s runner Marion Jones was stripped of five gold medals she won at the 2000 Sydney Games, had her name erased from Olympic records, and was banned from competing in the Beijing Games after she admitted to illegal steroid use. In that sense, one of the highest sporting associations is taking a firm stand for a level playing field. 

But now, USA Boxing is opening the door to lopsided competition that is leaving female athletes all over demoralized and reconsidering if it’s worth their time, energy and safety to square up against opponents with natural biological advantages.

The Republican House already passed Rep. Steube’s legislation, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 to protect female athletes like Lainey from a radical ideology, pushed by the Biden administration, that would upend all the progress that Title IX has ensured for all these years. The Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act is the next important step needed to keep women’s sports as fair and as safe as possible. 

The radical left plans on winning this fight. They plan to normalize men winning in women’s sports, thus leading to the erasure of women’s sports for generations to come.

It’s time for all of us to stand together and fight against their anti-women agenda for what we know is right: Men have no place in women’s sports.

To ensure a fair playing field for athletes who have worked their whole lives to compete, Congress should swiftly pass the Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

Greg Steube, a Republican, is the U.S. representative for the 17th Congressional District of Florida.

Lainey Armistead is a second-year student at Stetson University College of Law and a former team captain for the West Virginia State University women’s soccer team.