In a move surprising no one, Fox Sports opted against showing Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider, a trans woman, throwing the ceremonial first pitch at a San Francisco game over the weekend.
Since then, the network has been called out by various sources, while they try to defend themselves to limited success.
The pitch was shared widely on Twitter due to the snub.
Schneider is the first out trans woman to qualify for the Tournament of Champions on for Jeopardy!. She has won 40 consecutive games of the trivia show, and is currently the highest ranked female player.
During the time Schneider would be throwing the first pitch, Fox Sports opted to air the ceremonial first pitch from NASCAR driver Kurt Busch a few days earlier. The network made no mention of Busch actually throwing the first throw a few days earlier.
People were flabbergasted that the network would do such a thing.
On one hand, it’s commonplace practice to not air the ceremonial first pitch. Networks often see this as prime advertising time, since many eyes are on the game for the start, and the first throw doesn’t have an effect on the game.
But what makes this so egregious is that Fox Sports chose to replace Schneider’s first throw with another ceremonial first throw without giving any indication that it wasn’t live.
It even tricked those who regularly cover such topics, like Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, who had to apologize to fans for initially reporting that Busch was throwing the pitch instead of Schneider.
A representative for Fox Sports has said that they didn’t intend to overshadow Schneider, instead saying:
“On Saturday, as part of a promotional package for the weekend’s NASCAR race in northern California, we aired a taped first pitch of famed NASCAR driver Kurt Busch.”
“This promotion was in no way meant to overshadow the ceremonial first pitch for the game as it is not routine for us to air.”
Ill-intent or no, the whole debacle has led to more support for Schneider.
Schneider qualifies for the next Tournament of Champions for Jeopardy! set to air this fall. She’ll be competing against other players who’ve won multiple games for a pot of $250,000.