Oberlin coach says she was ‘burned at the stake’ for opposing biological males in women’s sports

Oberlin College women’s lacrosse head coach Kim Russell has opened up publicly about the humiliation she faced in 2022 for defending women’s sports.

Speaking with The Independent Women’s Forum, she explained how the drama began to unfold when she reposted something on social media right after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won a championship against a bunch of women, including Emma Weyant.

“Last March 20th, I was blown away that a male was being allowed to compete with women in NCAA swimming, and when Lia Thomas won, I reposted a post that said congratulations to Emma Weyant,” Russell said.

“Congratulations to Emma Weyant, the real woman who won the NCAA 500-yard freestyle event,” the post read.

According to Russell, after she reposted the post, one of her own players snitched on her by sending the post to her athletic director, who in turn called her in for a meeting.

“On Monday, March 21st, I was called in for a meeting to the athletic director’s office, with the athletic director and the assistant A.D. saying ‘what were you thinking, why would you do that.’ I immediately felt like a little kid being yelled at and, you know, told I was wrong, and people saying a trans woman is a woman and how can you not think that,” she explained.

She was told, among other things, that she falls “into a category of people that are filled with hate in the world,” and that while “it’s acceptable to have your own opinions … when they go against your college’s beliefs, it’s a problem for your employment.”

At the end of the week, she was called in again and this time ordered to write an apology to the team and the department. She initially started writing it, but then she had second thoughts.

“I started to write one and then thought, no, I’m not writing a letter of apology. I’m not sorry. I will have a conversation with anyone who wants to have a conversation about this. I am passionate about this. I really believe that women should be competing against other biological females,” she recalled.

That decision only made things worse.

“I was told that there was going to be now a meeting with my entire team, with the athletic director, with the Title IX director for our department, with the DEI person for our department, and with the Title IX and director of diversity inclusion for the entire college,” Russell said.

The meeting went horribly.

“Chairs were set up in a huge circle. I felt like I was burned at the stake. I felt like I was stoned and hanged all at the same time. It was what I would call the mob mentality, where a few people on the team spoke about how much they were upset with what I posted, and how dare I post that,” she recalled.

“That meeting turned into anybody being able to say anything they didn’t like about my coaching style or my assistance coaching. I love these kids, and to have you, know, many of them say all these things that to me were attacking who I was as a person, it made me sad,” she continued.

“I knew by the end of that meeting that it didn’t matter what I said. There was cognitive dissonance. Nobody would hear me. I felt like it broke our family apart, meaning our team. It was the most difficult season I’ve ever coached by far,” she added.

After the season concluded, a disciplinary letter was placed in her record, and she was told that she needed to change her behavior “immediately.” She responded by bluntly asking them to specify what policy she’d violated and also asking them to just let her know upfront if they were going to fire her.

The good news is that she still has her job to this day. The bad news is she feels like she has to walk on eggshells all the time.

“I feel like I’m walking on eggshells and afraid to be me where I work. That’s not good. It is scientific that biologically males and females are different, period. I don’t believe biological males should be in women’s locker rooms,” she said.

But given her decision to speak out publicly, she’s come to accept that she may soon be out of a job.

“I believe I’m at risk of being fired. … Am I ready for the storm? Yes,” she said.


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