Back in 2014, as sports pundits were having their yucks about newly out football player Michael Sam, WFAA's venerable Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen spoke truth to power regarding the new landscape ahead for professional sports team owners and challenged them to be wise moving forward.
Last night, Hansen delivered an op-ed on his newscast regarding Texas teen Mack Beggs, a transgender high school student who won his weight class in the state wrestling competition. Beggs was forced to wrestle in the girls' division due to University Interscholastic League (UIL) rules.
The UIL holds that athletes must compete according to the information on their birth certificate. In this case, that meant Beggs had to compete in the girls division.
But UIL rules also state that no athlete may use performance enhancing drugs - like testosterone - unless they are prescribed by a doctor. Obviously, as Beggs is transitioning, he is taking testosterone under the care of his doctor.
All of this comes together in that Mack Beggs is not to "blame" for any of the inconsistencies here. This is a high school athlete who just wants to compete. Beggs had requested to wrestle in the boy's division, but was denied.
But I'm not nearly as articulate as the ever-wise Hansen. Here's the text via WFAA :
I would have thought in 2017 - or maybe I just hoped in 2017 - we would be done arguing about birth certificates... but obviously we're not.
Seventeen-year old Mack Beggs, a junior at Euless Trinity who was born a girl and is now in the process of becoming a boy, wins the girls' state wrestling tournament Saturday. So the argument has started again.
Mack wanted to wrestle against the boys. The UIL says he had to wrestle the girls. And that's not fair for anybody involved in this argument.
Mack has been taking testosterone and it shows. There's a reason we have rules in sports against steroids, and it was an incredibly unfair advantage for him. It was also unfair to the girls who had to wrestle him.
The question is, "When does a girl become a boy, and when does a boy become a girl?" or "When can you play games against those you identify with and not what a piece of paper says you are?"
That answer is way above my pay grade. But someone has to find a better answer than what we're being given now.
As I said when I wrote about Missouri football player Michael Sam, I'm not always comfortable when a man tells me he's gay. I don't understand his world. But I do understand he's a part of mine. And I am saying the same thing now about Mack Beggs.
Transitioning is a struggle I cannot imagine. It is a journey I could not make... and it is a life that too many cannot live.
The problems that Mack Beggs is facing and dealing with now remind me again that I don't have any problems. He needs our support, and he does not need a group of old men in Austin telling him who to wrestle because of a genetic mix-up at birth.
We have argued long enough about birth certificates. It's an argument that needs to end. You don't have to understand – I myself don't understand. But Mack Beggs is not the problem so many people make him out to be. He's a child simply looking for his place in the world, and a chance to compete in the world.
Do we really not have the simple decency to allow him at least that? Because it seems to me it's the very least we can do.
Watch below as Hansen reminds us how common sense and compassion come together.