Can one person’s bigot be another’s future problem solver?
Can one person’s ahead-of-the-curve legislator be another’s backward and ignorant embarrassment, who you just can’t take anywhere?
Or, cut to the chase, is the NCAA really prepared to take the Women’s College World Series out of Oklahoma, not to mention a flurry of NCAA regional tournaments in any number of sports?
Let’s hope not.
Or is there a way out of the mess we now find ourselves in thanks to Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, who, without a single example of its ever being a problem in need of solving in Oklahoma or anywhere else, nonetheless authored a bill that’s since been adopted, 73-19, by the state’s house of representatives, to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls sports?
God, let’s hope so.
Of course, (dis)honorable mentions in this unnecessary fiasco belong, too, to Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, who allowed Hasenbeck’s bill to get through committee, not to mention 71 other house members, a great swath of whom had to believe their vote to be unnecessary and dumb if not downright bigoted, but simultaneously easier to cast than explain the complicated nuance or simple virtue of a vote against to a primary electorate.
Side note, you have to love the baffling logic of Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh, quoted by The Oklahoman on Monday, saying “Just because we don’t see a problem, we need to be proactive and be ready for that problem when one does occur.”
Do folks in Tecumseh vote for him because they legit believe he’s out front of the issues, or because he’ll spin the unspinnable with a straight face until the cows come home or that he’s preemptively wise on just a few specific issues and this is one of them?
All three seem possible.
If only Sterling would champion a preemptive mask mandate in the face of future pandemics, perhaps he’d have a leg to stand on.
But he doesn’t.
Nor does Hasenbeck, nor Humphrey, nor 70 of their peers in the state house who have put Oklahoma in jeopardy of losing future NCAA events should the arbiter of college sports in this country follow through on its threat to remove them from states that push through anti-transgender legislation, not to mention uncountable corporate bodies that might exercise the same judgment.
Already it’s perfectly clear such legislation is unneeded. Already, preemptively, it’s been addressed in a far more inclusive tone by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
In 2015, the OSSAA adopted a policy requiring male-to-female transgender athletes to complete at least one year of hormone therapy before becoming eligible to participate in girls sports, a policy that mirrors the NCAA’s, in place to protect female athletes from the competitive advantage male-to-female transgender athletes who have gone through no treatment might enjoy.
Or, in plain English even Oklahoma legislators can understand, already no male athlete can willy nilly declare gender ambivalence, join the girls team and go win all the races.
To be clear, it’s never happened. To be clear, were it to happen, we’re already prepared. Also, to be clear, here’s what must happen now.
Patty Gasso needs to get on the record on it because, though she ought to be on right side of it anyway, yahoo legislators are putting her softball team’s World Series home-field advantage in jeopardy, not to mention all the regionals and super regionals the Sooners might host.
Joe Castiglione needs to, too, most of all because the Sooner athletic director has everybody’s respect already and they might just listen to him explain, at a minimum, why this legislation could put the state at a horrible economic and competitive disadvantage.
Both he and Gasso are free to refrain from the laughingstock aspect of it all, for that message might be counterproductive.
A 73-19 house vote is only one third of a bad bill becoming law. It must also get through the senate and must also be signed by the governor.
Lord knows many good laws die before coming to a vote, here’s a lousy one that can die before coming to another one.
Because it’s already been addressed. Because it will put Sooners and Cowboys in horrible straits. Not that it matters, but that it’s the right thing to do, too.
If the right people say the right things, we can save ourselves from ourselves.
This time, at least.