Critics ripped USA Today this week after the outlet edited an op-ed by former high school athlete Chelsea Mitchell attacking Connecticut codes allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports.

Mitchell wrote Saturday in USA Today about her ongoing legal battle against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) to reverse recent rules allowing transgender females (biological males) to participate in girls’ sports. The outlet edited Mitchell’s piece Wednesday, removing and replacing instances where Mitchell referred to transgender competitor’s as “male” or alluded to their male physiques.

USA Today explained in an editor’s note that the language was “hurtful.” The post-publication edits and justification earned the outlet condemnations online.

“Outrageous. @usatoday changed Mitchell’s words, post-publication, on the grounds that the word ‘male’ is hurtful,” said Abigail Shrier, author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.” “The activists know well that Mitchell can’t make her argument without that word. Shame on the useful idiots of USAToday. If only they had half Mitchell’s courage.”

RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway said: “Absolutely incredible. You literally can’t make an argument in corporate media with conceding to the terms set by the left.”

Attorney and podcaster Jeff Blehar wrote: “I find it absolutely insane that any news organization that values its journalistic reputation would go back and change an *op-Ed* after publication for any reason outside of explicit legal liability, which 1.) you have in-house lawyers for pre-publication; 2.) this sure ain’t.”

Casey Mattox, vice president for legal and judicial strategy at Americans for Prosperity, stated simply: “Embarrassingly poor form by @USAToday.”

Mitchell is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal nonprofit, in her case against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to bar transgender females from girls’ sports. ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb also blasted USA Today for changing Mitchell’s op-ed days later.

“@USATODAY published our client Chelsea Mitchell’s opinion about the unfairness she experienced being forced to compete against male athletes. But after backlash from the woke mob, editors unilaterally changed Chelsea’s words & called them ‘hurtful language,’” Holcomb wrote on Twitter.

“What was the ‘hurtful language’ that editors deleted from Chelsea’s opinion piece three days after publication? The word ‘male,’” she continued. “USA Today violated its principles to appease the mob. This blatant censorship violates the trust we place in media to be honest brokers of public debate.”

USA Today changed Mitchell’s language throughout the article, removing any reference to transgender females as “male.” Mitchell’s opening paragraphs reflect multiple changes in wording. Mitchell’s original article said:

It’s February 2020. I’m crouched at the starting line of the high school girls’ 55-meter indoor race. This should be one of the best days of my life. I’m running in the state championship, and I’m ranked the fastest high school female in the 55-meter dash in the state. I should be feeling confident. I should know that I have a strong shot at winning.

Instead, all I can think about is how all my training, everything I’ve done to maximize my performance, might not be enough, simply because there’s a runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage: a male body.

I won that race, and I’m grateful. But time after time, I have lost. I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to male runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two male runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.

It has since been changed to read:

It’s February 2020. I’m crouched at the starting line of the high school girls’ 55-meter indoor race. This should be one of the best days of my life. I’m running in the state championship, and I’m ranked the fastest high school female in the 55-meter dash in the state. I should be feeling confident. I should know that I have a strong shot at winning.

Instead, all I can think about is how all my training, everything I’ve done to maximize my performance, might not be enough, simply because there’s a transgender runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage.

I won that race, and I’m grateful. But time after time, I have lost. I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to transgender runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two transgender runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.

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