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President Trump should promptly and publicly invite the Virginia Cavalier men and the Baylor Lady Bears together to celebrate their NCAA basketball championships. In doing so, he would set the women on the same level as the men. The Baylor Lady Bears are hardly likely to run the “resistance” game, but there will be real pressure on players in Virginia, now dominated by the Swamp, to delegitimize the president. Making it about men treating women as peers in college would confound the left’s messaging.
Two True Champions:
If you missed either the Sunday or Monday evening NCAA College Basketball Championship game, you missed a great game. Too busy? Watch at last the last 10 minutes of the Baylor Lady Bears versus the Notre Dame women. Then watch at least the last 5 minutes of the Virginia Cavaliers versus the Red Raiders men in regulation time, plus the 5 minutes of overtime.
— Baylor Lady Bears (@BaylorWBB) April 8, 2019
Both championship games were great because both pairs of competitors were evenly matched in talent, training and tenacious execution. It was two full games of fundamentally good basketball, played and coached by people who have no quit in them. Dominique Yates wrote at the Louisville Courier Journal: “If you’re not a fan of women’s basketball, it’s about time you become one.” While the seasons may be too long for other than a die-hard fan to follow, the single-elimination championship tournaments are good entertainment, and the Final Fours and championship games are consistently great viewing.
— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) April 9, 2019
One Day at the White House:
The White House team should be all over this, leveraging the two great stories, only a day apart, into one great event, honoring these two programs and groups of outstanding young men and women. Taking the risk, such as it is, to publicly extend a joint invitation, not two invitations, will achieve at least two good ends: maximizing the chance of both accepting in the current environment, and contradicting the media narrative that President Trump devalues women.
The first end is obvious. There is enormous pressure on the young men to posture up against President Trump, to pretend he is a racist and that joining in the Democrats’ assault on our constitutional system of elections is a courageous moral act. This will be especially reinforced by pressure, from the university administration, and from the apparatchiks and nomenklatura, who have come to dominate northern Virginia communities.
The Baylor Lady Bears would be making their third trip to the White House, and do not come from a #resistance school and state.
The Lady Bears have now won national championships under three different presidents.
They brought home their first in 2005 when George W. Bush occupied the Oval Office and their second in 2012 when Barack Obama was president.
So, help the Virginia men’s team do the right thing, by making them choose between posturing against the president or honoring the Lady Bears as their peers, as co-equals in college athletics. That is, make the Virginia Cavaliers do the civil thing teams have done with every other president, or face the same charge leveled at President Trump.
The second end is to remedy the perception that President Trump does not respect the achievements of female collegiate athletes. The former flagship paper in Washington D.C., now the mouthpiece of the institutional left, charged just before the NCAA basketball championships weekend: “Trump ignores women’s champions in White House sports ceremonies.” Make it not so.
Compare these two congratulatory messages by the president:
Congratulations to the Baylor Lady Bears on their amazing win last night against Notre Dame to become the 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Champions! https://t.co/cogqxFgnRn
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2019
Congratulations to Virginia – Great game!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2019
Stand with the two teams on either side of the podium, praising the teams and recounting the great games as President Trump is wont to do. Call up the two great coaches to give their remarks side-by-side. Call up the team captains to be recognized together. Call up the MVPs to be lauded together. Then announce a move to the Oval Office for photographs, followed by a dinner of champions. The dinner, of course, must be surf and turf—Virginia blue crab and Texas barbecue brisket!
Holding one great event for the two championship teams would also allow positive messaging about college, discipline, hard work, talent, and teamwork. It would also be a powerful platform to tout Title XI’s benefit, ending discrimination in educational opportunity on the basis of sex. President Trump should include the relevant law in his remarks:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance….
The law has worked precisely because it is not about “gender,” nor “identity,” but male and female. The way to make the point—in the midst of an assault on female opportunities—is to praise the women, and praise the law for removing obstacles from women’s paths. At the same time, the image of the two teams, the two team captains, and the two MVPs side-by-side, will silently refute the “identity” as “equality” claim.
Sports journalists treat men as more important, because of the larger audiences and dollars connected with their college programs, feeding into much bigger professional sports audiences. Make the press give the same camera coverage for a day, by one set of camera shots capturing both men and women, and President Trump honoring them all. This would be a win for everyone except the left and Trump-haters, to the extent those two categories have not effectively merged.