In yet another story of trans women being barred from sport, basketball player Lexi Rodgers has been ruled ineligible to play elite level women’s basketball by Basketball Australia — but she won’t let that torpedo her career as an athlete.
Rodgers was barred from playing with her club team, the Kilsyth Cobras, in the NBL1 South competition this season by a panel consisting of Basketball Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Peter Harcourt, Director Suzy Batkovic, and associate professor Diana Robinson.
The body wouldn’t disclose why it rejected Rodger’s case for “privacy” reasons but tried to maintain that it is still an inclusive organisation.
“The balance of inclusivity, fairness and the competitive nature of sport will always be a complex area to navigate, and we thank those involved who have maintained integrity and respect throughout the process,” it said in a statement.
“BA (Basketball Australia) assesses eligibility of prospective elite level transgender athletes on a ‘case-by-case’ basis, accounting for and balancing a range of factors, and has implemented this process on behalf of Basketball Victoria in this matter.
“As the governing body, we acknowledge we’re still on a path of education and understanding. To aid us in developing our framework, Lexi will provide feedback and advice from her experiences.”
I hope her advice is to tell them to shove it.
“The balance of inclusivity, fairness and the competitive nature of sport will always be a complex area to navigate,” the statement continued.
“And we thank those involved who have maintained integrity and respect throughout the process.”
Lexi Rodgers said in an Instagram post that she was “disappointed” by BA’s decision.
— Teegan Dolling (@tdolling) April 18, 2023
“Basketball is one of the great loves of my life,” she wrote.
“Like so many people who play every week across the country, the basketball court is where I feel safe, where I feel free, and where I feel I belong. As an athlete, this passion and love for the game motivates me to play to the best of my abilities against the toughest competitors at the highest levels.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me as I have sought to participate in the NBL1 this season. The backing of the players, coaches, my club and grass roots members has been overwhelming. I am so grateful for their desire to have me as part of their community.”
“I sought a different outcome from Basketball Australia. I participated fully and in good faith with the process and eligibility criteria. Consistent with the views expressed by so many, I firmly believe I have a place as an athlete in women’s basketball,” she continued.
“I hope Basketball Australia understands that this is not the end of my journey as an athlete and that it must not miss future opportunities to demonstrate its values. I am sad about the potential message this decision sends to trans and gender diverse people everywhere. I hope that one day basketball’s governing body can replicate the inclusion and acceptance I have found on the court with my teammates.”
Perhaps anticipating backlash, Basketball Australia Director and former Olympian Suzy Batkovic insisted in BA’s statement that it was important to remember “Basketball Australia encourages and promotes inclusivity at community level.”
Why and how can you promote inclusion at a grassroots level but not a professional level? Make it make sense. https://t.co/XDNYTouSAh
— Ashlyne McInnes (@ashlyne_mcinnes) April 18, 2023
Hmmm. Then let Lexi Rodgers play? Why is inclusivity only being championed at a community level, but not a professional one?
It’s so interesting to me that Basketball Australia clearly wants to align itself with Rodgers and inclusivity as a whole, yet its decision contradicts this.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.