NPR Issues Correction, Admits There Is Evidence Proving Male Athletes Have Advantage over Females

NPR issued an official correction following a story published Friday which argued “there is limited scientific research” supporting the idea that males have a “physical advantage” over females in competitive sports.

“Correction: An earlier tweet incorrectly stated there is limited scientific evidence of physical advantage. Existing research shows that higher levels of testosterone do impact athletic performance. But there’s limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition,” the outlet’s official Twitter account noted on Sunday afternoon.

Appended to the clarification was an annotated “Context” feature provided by Twitter citing a British Journal of Sports Medicine academic article that showed gender differences between female and male athletes, even after hormone-replacement therapy. The feature also included links to numerous studies which contradict the outlet’s claim that there is “limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition.”

While such medical interventions diminished performance differences in some categories, “transwomen still had a 9% faster mean run speed after the 1 year period of testosterone suppression,” the team of researchers concluded.

Elon Musk, the social-media platform’s owner, commented on the announcement thanking NPR “for correcting yourself.”

The media organization initially made the claim after the World Athletics Council, the governing sports body regulating international competitions such as cross county as well as track field, ruled that transgender athletes would be barred from competing against biological women.

The publicly-funded media company cited a 2020 report by Human Rights Watch claiming that transgender women have no competitive edge over biological women when it comes to physical performance and insisted that the World Athletic Council’s ruling relied on flawed evidence.

“Even without strong evidence of an advantage,” NPR noted, “the council has scrutinized the performance of athletes such as South African runner Caster Semenya, the world’s fastest woman in the 800 meters.”

Semenya, a female athlete, was described by NPR as “raised female and . . . legally female, [who] was born with XY chromosomes and has a naturally high testosterone level.”

NPR pointed to the World Athletics Council’s decision as part of a growing trend of “moving away from trans inclusion” in sports citing the governing bodies for international swimming and rugby announcing similar moves in recent years.

On Thursday, World Athletics Council president Sebastian Coe announced the body’s decision to bar transgender women from female competition.

“The Council has agreed to exclude male-to-female transgender athletes, who have been through male puberty, from female world-ranking competitions from March the 31st of this year,” Coe said during a press conference in Monaco.

“We cannot, in all conscience, leave our transgender regulations as they were at five nanomoles per liter for at least one year when we were unsure about the impact of doing so across all our disciplines.”

The news was welcomed by Karen Long, an Australian runner that competes in 100, 200, and 400-meter races.

“It was a relief to hear that transgender athletes will be banned from competing in the women’s category in athletics. I believe the governing bodies received lots of pressure in the form of complaints from female and male athletes on this issue and it forced them to reconsider,” Long told National Review.

Cynthia Monteleone, a fellow runner who is competing in a World Masters Athletics competition in Poland this weekend, recounted an earlier experience when she realized that at a 2018 track meet one of the contestants was born male.

“Nobody would answer my questions. The officials were very concerned about it, the European officials, but when I brought it up to Team USA management, they just swept it under the rug and later down the line even went as far as to say that for my own safety, I should keep my mouth shut, which I didn’t,” the reigning 400-meter race champion said.

Prior to Thursday’s ban, World Athletics required transgender women to reduce the amount of testosterone in their blood below a certain threshold, which they needed to maintain continuously for a year before competing against biological women. These rules will now be paused as a working group is appointed to further investigate the matter, the BBC reported.

“The science is clear that trans women retain a significant advantage over women and to maintain the integrity of women’s sports, it’s common sense that they should not be racing against women,” added Long. “Having their own category OR run with the men in an open category would be a fairer way to include them in the competition.”

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