Griner didn’t ask to be 6 feet 8. She didn’t ask for a low-pitched voice and size 17 feet. Of course, those are perfectly good reasons for total strangers to speculate about the gender of a 21-year-old college student.
Shame on those who watched Griner play and whose sophisticated thought processes led them to that question. Shame on those who heard her voice and speculated that she might be a man, or had been a man, or might become a man. Shame on those who have called her names and taunted her.
I turned on WTEM-980 the other day and thought, “Who the heck is that squeaky thing?” before realizing it was me, on the Tony Kornheiser show. I’ve always had a high voice. Not a thing I can do about it.
Mike Tyson also has always had a high voice. No one ever thought he was a woman, or suggested he had been a woman, or that he might become a woman. Nothing that has been said about Tyson has been half as nasty as the Griner talk, despite the fact that he was convicted of rape, blew through millions of dollars, tattooed half his face, and who knows what else.
But let a woman’s voice drop an octave and the gloves come off. Why does that give anyone the right to attack Griner? This has always puzzled me. Why in the world do people care so much about something that affects them so little? Just calm down.
Of course we live in a country in which everyone is in everyone else’s business, thanks to social media, just at a point in our history when tolerance seems to be at low tide. That’s not a great combination.
Sports is supposed to be an escape from that, not just one more outlet for us to use to attack what we don’t understand and spew hate toward those who look or sound different than us. Every time I think we’re past this, finally, I am reminded that we still have a long way to go in this country before we can just appreciate a talent like Griner’s without looking for a way to explain it beyond her own God-given abilities.
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