ATLANTA — Felipe Delgado is one of the only parents willing to go on the record and share how he feels about a biological male competing against his daughter.
“I just feel that somebody has got to come out and say something,” he said in a Friday evening interview with The Daily Wire, “but we cannot do this argument with hate. We have to do it in a conversational tone, welcoming dialogue, because that’s the only way things are really going to get resolved.”
“It’s going to be too late once you have to pull back,” he warned. “Once you have to take back awards that have been won. Once you have to erase records that have been had. That’s when the pain is really going to settle in for certain people.”
Delgado sat down with The Daily Wire at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta, Georgia, ahead of his daughter’s Saturday 100 freestyle competition. Preliminary races are Saturday morning and determine who will swim in the finals that night.
Anicka Delgado, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, is currently slated to clock in at 48.56 seconds in the 100 freestyle, 48th out of 65 athletes competing in the event.
Heat sheets show that athlete Lia Thomas, a biological man who identifies as a transgender woman, is slated to clock in at 47.63 seconds — 10th in the race, and the only biological male out of the slew of female racers.
Thomas finished first in the women’s 500 freestyle Thursday evening. On Friday, multiple female swimmers finished ahead of Thomas in the 200 freestyle.
Delgado’s father made it clear that he believes it is unfair for Thomas to be racing in his daughter’s race, but he emphasized the importance of engaging in dignified and respectful dialogue in order to effect change.
“You have to remember, Lia Thomas is a human being,” he said. “You have to see the human side.”
Thomas is not the gatekeeper, he noted, pointing out that the transgender swimmer is “playing within” the NCAA’s rules.
“Had they established rules that prohibited her from being here, she wouldn’t be here,” Delgado said.
More of the responsibility for the current divisive climate should be put on the NCAA, he said, emphasizing that “we should be focusing on the positive, all of the fantastic accomplishments that are taking place here this this week.”
“I am a believer that there is a gatekeeper,” he said. “And when that gatekeeper allows somebody to come in who eventually shouldn’t be invited to the party, I think ultimately the brunt of the blame if there is blame to be have upon that person.”
Parents, swimmers, and attendees at the NCAA have been abuzz with concerns about the transgender swimmer and fairness in women’s sports, multiple sources told The Daily Wire.
But few of these parents have voiced their concerns publicly, and the most high profile dissent appears to have come from conservative activists and commentators online.
Delgado initially signaled his feelings in a Wednesday tweet that said: “My daughter will be racing Lia Thomas this weekend in the 100 free at the women’s @NCAA. I’ll be rooting for my daughter.”
“Fight on,” he added in a hashtag.
“Fault those that out of fear of being cancelled or labeled transphobic, [were] not willing to do the right thing and admit that they were wrong,” he tweeted later. “That much more has to go into this before people like Lia can complete fairly.”
“What happens when this reaches the international scene & sporting events like the Olympic Games come into play?” he asked. “Then what?”
The current controversy over Thomas is not the transgender swimmer’s fault, Delgado tweeted.
“Standing up for the integrity of women’s sports does not make one transphobic,” he added. “I just wish those that have power know that.”
— Felipe Delgado (@fdelgado101) March 16, 2022
“Right now, I can tell you, the majority of people certainly do not think it’s right,” the swimmer’s father told The Daily Wire. “So we need to sit back and look and see, did we act too quickly? Do we need to step back? Maybe change things around?”
Parents have told him “all weekend long” that they are unhappy about Thomas racing with the girls.
“I don’t think there would be so much discord if people weren’t as passionate as they are about this,” he said. “I have three daughters myself, so I do have a dog in this fight. Women’s sports have come so far just to be thrown right back into question, and that’s what needs to be changed.”
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