Jason Whitlock, a former ESPN and Fox Sports writer and current OutKick columnist, did not hold back in his criticism of the Sarah Fuller publicity stunt and the subsequent reaction that called her a “hero” and a “trailblazer.”
Sarah Fuller is a goalie for the Vanderbilt University women’s soccer team. But Vanderbilt’s football team, already having a dreadful enough of a season as it is, at one point did not have a kicker going into Saturday’s contest against Missouri—because of, you guessed it, COVID-19. So they turned to Fuller and added her to the roster, thus making her the first woman to ever play in a Power Five college football game. (Power Five refers to the sport’s five major conferences: the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. Vanderbilt is an SEC team.)
Her only appearance in the game—which Vanderbilt lost 41-0—featured her squib kicking the ball to Missouri’s 37-yard line at the beginning of the second half and dashing to the sideline. That’s it.
So it was only a matter of time before Whitlock, who does not describe himself as conservative but is clearly conservative-friendly, bashed the virtue-signaling surrounding Fuller’s appearance.
“Sarah Fuller briefly made football socially acceptable for America’s most ardent virtue-signalers. That was her primary accomplishment, pleasing Make A Wish America,” Whitlock wrote. “I don’t believe she played football. She scored a point in the culture war.”
Whitlock acknowledges that Fuller is an elite athlete, given that she plays goalie for a Division 1 soccer team which just won its conference championship last week and is heading for the NCAA Tournament in the spring, but says that putting her in this situation only diminishes female athletes.
“I don’t blame Sarah Fuller. She’s an accomplished, high-level Division 1 athlete. She’s a soccer goalie for the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team. She’s been baited into believing competing against men is her North star. Maybe it is. It shouldn’t be,” he wrote.
He added: “Sarah Fuller is an elite soccer player. She’s a terrible football player, arguably the worst to ever take the field in the SEC. The announcers during the game said [Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason] wasn’t comfortable using her [to] kick field goals unless they were inside the 15-yard line. There were pictures of her warming up in pregame kicking 14-yard field goals. Her athleticism does not need to be validated by competing against men in any capacity, let alone in a sport that is not her specialty.”
Whitlock also attacked “culture warriors” for hailing Fuller as “Jackie Robinson 2.0” and spending tons of money to prop up women as the athletic equals of men.
“There’s a lot of money being spent to create the illusion that women can and should be playing football against men. The people spending the money hate football. It epitomizes ‘toxic masculinity’… except when women are on the field. Football should also be shuttered because of the head trauma dangers… unless women are playing. Oh, and during this COVID pandemic, it’s irresponsible for these Power 5 schools to exploit these college athletes… unless there’s a woman playing.”
Read Whitlock’s entire op-ed here. Thank God the sports writing world has at least one voice who can speak the truth like this. As someone who used to write about sports myself, I’m well aware that there are far too few Whitlocks in the profession.
Make-A-Wish Vanderbilt Kicker Sarah Fuller Will Take Part in Joe Biden’s Inauguration
Vanderbilt University student Sarah Fuller, goalie for the women’s soccer team and erstwhile emergency kicker for the men’s football team, will be taking part in the inauguration of Joe Biden.
USA Today reports that Fuller will participate in a television program titled “Celebrating America,” which will be simulcast the evening of Inauguration Day on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and PBS.
Fuller confirmed the news on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
“It’s an honor to be invited to participate in one of America’s greatest traditions,” Fuller tweeted with pictures of herself on the Vanderbilt football field. “This historic inauguration is especially meaningful for American women and girls. The glass ceilings are breaking and it is the time to #LeadLikeAWoman.”
— Sarah Fuller (@SarahFuller_27) January 17, 2021
Multiple guests will appear on the program in addition to Fuller. Tom Hanks is hosting and both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be giving speeches.
Back in November and December the mainstream media lauded Fuller for becoming the first woman to play and then score in a Power Five college football game. In her first appearance she squib kicked the ball to Missouri’s 37-yard line and subsequently hurried to the sidelines. In later appearances she made two extra points following Vanderbilt touchdowns.
Fuller became Vanderbilt’s emergency kicker after their starting and backup kickers could not play due to COVID-19 protocols.
Big League Politics previously covered the Sarah Fuller story, specifically the reaction of Jason Whitlock, a conservative-friendly sports writer who once worked for Fox Sports. Whitlock called her appearance a “Make-A-Wish” publicity stunt.
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