A female kicker who on Saturday became the the first woman to play in a major conference college football game has been named the SEC Special Teams Player Of The Week.
The kick: In a statement posted to the SEC’s website on Monday, the Power 5 conference announced Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller had earned the honor after executing a 30-yard kick in the Commodores’ 41-0 loss to the Missouri Tigers.
The second-half kickoff would be the only play made by Fuller, who a week earlier won an SEC championship as a goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team.
The reaction: Fuller became an instant sensation on social media, where a culture war debate centered around gender erupted between supporters and critics.
Detractors argued the relatively short distance of Fuller’s kick was “pathetic,” while others shot back by saying the 30-yard boot was a perfectly placed “squib.”
For some, Fuller’s play was an inspiring and groundbreaking showcase of female empowerment.
Vanderbilt even promoted the moment with a hashtag exhorting athletes to “#PlayLikeAGirl.”
Others weren’t so impressed and perceived the furor over Fuller’s performance to be motivated by progressive politics.
“Don’t be so PC that you can’t appreciate how incredibly hilarious this is. Vanderbilt adopts ‘play like a girl’ as a positive motto for a football team and proceeds to lose 41-0 while the female kicker manages to kick it 30 yards in her one play of the game. Extremely funny,” tweeted Daily Wire contributor Matt Walsh on Sunday.
In a piece for Outkick the Coverage, sportswriter Jason Whitlock called Fuller’s play a “publicity stunt.”
“The people who hate football and the people who spent the whole summer trying to cancel college football over COVID concerns came together to celebrate the game Saturday. Sarah Fuller briefly made football socially acceptable for America’s most ardent virtue-signalers,” Whitlock wrote.
Blaze TV host Sara Gonzales had an even harsher assessment, saying Fuller “reminds us why MEN play football.”
“She sucks,” Gonazles tweeted on Saturday.
What’s next? After the Commodores’ blowout loss dropped the team to an 0-8 record, head coach Derek Mason was fired on Sunday.
- Fuller is currently listed as the lone kicker on the Commodores’ depth chart ahead of Vanderbilt’s matchup against 11th-ranked Georgia on Saturday.