Fact Check

Was Lia Thomas Fired From Her High School Coaching Job After 2 Weeks?

The transgender athlete has been subject to numerous rumors and claims.

Published Jan 3, 2024

 (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Image Via Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Claim:
Swimmer Lia Thomas was fired from her job as a high school coach after two weeks when half of the team quit.

In early 2024, Latherland.com, a site that is a part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of websites, published an article claiming that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas had been fired from her job as a high school coach just two weeks into the position after half of the high school team quit. The story is fake.

The article began as follows:

Lia Thomas Fired From Her New High School Coaching Job After Two Weeks: “Half the Team Quit”

Lia Thomas quit the world of competitive swimming and opted instead to become a coach. With a slew of world records and a national championship under her belt, who better to teach the next generation? Thomas secured a job at Batt High School in Vanden Boom, Michigan.

It might have worked out if Lia Thomas was like every other woman in the water, but Lia Thomas is — biologically — a man. “The girls just couldn’t get past it,” said Principal Joe Barron, “it was really awkward for them.”

After more than half the team quit, the school district started wondering if Thomas was the issue. “We put two and two together,” said Superintendent Art Tubolls, “There’s no other explanation. As much as we like her as a person, we had to let her go.”

The article also claimed that the main issue people had with Thomas was the use of "she" and "her" pronouns when referring to her. The principal reportedly said, “The average potato doesn’t take kindly to such things."

The above article originates from a website that is satirical in nature. The website’s “About Us” section states:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you’re still having an issue with that satire thing.

The website creators describe its readers as, "'Taters'" [who] are the conservative fans of America’s Last Line of Defense. They are fragile, frightened, mostly older caucasian Americans. They believe nearly anything. While we go out of our way to educate them that not everything they agree with is true, they are still old, typically ignorant, and again — very afraid of everything.”

The article then goes on to state that none of the above was true:

ALLOD Sportsball Correspondelator Tara Newhole looked into the story and found that it had “little to no basis in fact.” Newhole reports that Thomas is still more than two years removed from the trans swimmer issue and has moved on to a likely career as a civil rights attorney.

“Riley Gaines is the only one keeping this nonsense alive,” said Newhole, “her and the boomer taters you keep selling your garbage to.” Newhole isn’t exactly wrong. By our calculations, Thomas and Gaines have combined for nearly as much traffic as Whoopi Goldberg, which in the world of satire trolling isn’t an easy feat.

Congratulations, Ms Thomas, for the accomplishment. Also, we’re sorry. Kinda. God bless America.

Thomas was the first transgender woman to win a Division I national championship in the 500 freestyle race in 2022. Fellow swimmer Riley Gaines has frequently spoken out against the inclusion of trans athletes in sports.

We've fact-checked numerous satirical claims about Thomas, including those about fictitious lawsuits filed by Gaines against Thomas, or false claims about Thomas being banned from the Olympics in 2024 or for life.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

“About Us.” Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/about-us/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Dunning Kruger Times Archives | Snopes.Com. https://www.snopes.com/tag/dunning-kruger_times/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Almasy, Steve and Eric Levenson. “Swimmer Lia Thomas Becomes First Transgender Athlete to Win an NCAA D-I Title.” CNN, 17 Mar. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/17/sport/lia-thomas-ncaa-swimming/index.html.

Izzo, Jack. “Did Swimmer Lia Thomas Beg for 2024 Olympics Tryout After Being Barred from Competing?” Snopes, 30 Oct. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lia-thomas-olympic-tryout/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Izzo, Jack. “Is NCAA Transferring Lia Thomas’ Medals to Riley Gaines?” Snopes, 30 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lia-thomas-medal/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Izzo, Jack. “Lia Thomas Was Rejected From US 2024 Olympic Swim Team While Riley Gaines Got a Spot?” Snopes, 17 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/gaines-thomas-2024-olympics/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. “No, the ‘Olympic Committee’ Didn’t Ban Former NCAA Swimmer Lia Thomas for Life.” Snopes, 20 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lia-thomas-olympics/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

“Lia Thomas Fired From Her New High School Coaching Job After Two Weeks: ‘Half the Team Quit.’” Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 1 Jan. 2024, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/lia-thomas-fired-from-her-new-high-school-coaching-job-after-two-weeks-half-the-team-quit/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Liles, Jordan. “Former Swimmer Riley Gaines Sues Lia Thomas for $2M?” Snopes, 15 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/gaines-sues-thomas-satire/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Liles, Jordan. “Riley Gaines Settled a Lawsuit Against Swimmer Lia Thomas for $1.2M?” Snopes, 16 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/gaines-thomas-lawsuit-satire/. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Mossburg, Cheri and Natasha Chen. “Former College Swimmer Says She Was Assaulted at an Event Opposing the Inclusion of Trans Women in Women’s Sports.” CNN, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/07/us/former-ncaa-swimmer-riley-gaines-assault-san-francisco-state-university/index.html. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.