Matt Barnes Speaks Out Against Trans Women Playing in WNBA

The ex-Grizzlies player says he respects what anyone wants to "do with your life," but trans women playing in the WNBA is "a line that shouldn’t be crossed."

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Former Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes shared his sentiments about trans athletes in a sit-down with VladTV, where he was asked about “trans players potentially playing for the WNBA.” Barnes told the host he typically believes “to each their own,” but not when it came to the world of sports.

“I don’t like that,” Barnes quickly responded. “You wanna be whatever you wanna be…I’m pro-make-your-choice. Do you, do this, but sports is different, you know what I mean? Sports is a different beast.”

He went on to speak about a trans professional fighter as well as collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas—the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship. Barnes, 42, suggested both of those people had an unfair advantage in their sports.

“I don’t like that,” he reiterated. “If you’re born a woman, I think you should play women sports. And if you’re born a man, you should play man sports. But if you wanna be—if you wanna do whatever you wanna do with your life, I respect that. That’s not my business. But I just think the sports thing is just a little different.”

He continued, “It would change the whole dynamic of the game. To me, I just feel like to each their own. … But when it comes to sports, I think crossing that line is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.”

DJ Vlad then referenced a previous interview with Gilbert Arenas, who claimed his teenage daughters had played against trans athletes, but they simply weren’t on his kids’ level.

“They were horrible. … Not one is even decent,” the former Grizzlies star said about the trans athletes. 

Barnes seemingly understood where Arenas was coming from, stating that gender identity isn’t always indicative of athleticism.

“You might just not be shit, period, in sports,” Barnes said. “It is what it is.”

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