Act Like a Lady, Play Like a Man?

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By DERON SNYDER

Baylor University’s women’s basketball team just completed a dream season, blowing out Notre Dame to win the national title Tuesday and finish with a 40-0 record. As she’s been throughout the season for the Lady Bears, star center Brittney Griner was dominant. She won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, complementing the Player of the Year honors she received earlier.

After Baylor’s 80-61 victory, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was effusive in praising Griner, calling the 6-foot-8 junior the best post player she’s ever seen. “I think she’s one of a kind,” McGraw said. “I think she’s like a guy playing with women.”

McGraw’s intent wasn’t to insult Griner, and the player didn’t perceive it that way. “Definitely, I take it as a compliment,” Griner said. But the coach’s comparison caused a stir on social media because of the taunts Griner endures about her height and dominating play.

Her stature, deep voice and size 17 sneakers make her an object of scorn and ridicule among ignorant fans who question her gender. They suggest that Griner can’t be a “real woman” — not the way she’s built, the way she sounds and the way she plays. It’s an age-old criticism launched against extraordinary female athletes whom mainstream society deems insufficiently feminine.

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