On Friday, multiple ESPN employees used their platform to protest Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill. Those who oppose the legislation refer to it as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
At the start of the second half between South Carolina and Howard in the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament, announcers Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle announced a moment of silence in protest of the bill.
“Normally at this time, we would take a look back at the first half, but there are things bigger than basketball that need to be addressed at this time,” Lyle said. “Our friends, our family, our co-workers, the players and coaches in our community are hurting right now. At 3 o’clock, about eight minutes ago, our LGBTQIA+ teammates at Disney asked for our solidarity and support, including our company’s support, in opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Bill in the state of Florida and similar legislation across the United States.”
“A threat to any human rights is a threat to all human rights,” Peck added. “And at this time, Courtney and I, we’re going to take a pause from our broadcast to show our love and support for our friends, our family, and our colleagues.”
Today during the Women's NCAA Tournament, ESPN's Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle remained silent for two minutes in opposition of Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.
"There are things bigger than basketball … Our LGBTQIA+ teammates at Disney asked for our solidarity and support." pic.twitter.com/d0xISZvNUh
— The Recount Alt (@therecountalt) March 18, 2022
As reported by Dillon Burroughs of The Daily Wire, employees of Disney, which owns ESPN, have planned walkouts this week in protest of CEO Bob Chapek’s response to the bill.
“Starting Tuesday March 15th through Monday March 21st we will begin scheduled walkouts during a 15 minute break period,” the walkout plan said at WhereIsChapek.com.
“These will take place at 3:00PM-3:15PM respective to the employees timezone,” it added. “Then on Tuesday March 22nd we will engage in a full stage walkout.”
At ESPN studios, anchor Elle Duncan also spoke on the response from ESPN employees, pausing her halftime broadcast in “solidarity.”
“Many of our colleagues here at ESPN have planned and organized a walkout that will be happening at 3:00 p.m. eastern today,” Duncan said at halftime of the South Carolina versus Howard game. “And to be honest with you, we thought we were going to come here today and really celebrate a sport that has meant so much, and done so much, including for so much in the LGBTQI+ communities. But we understand the gravity of this legislation, and also how it is affecting so many families across the country. And because of that, our allyship is going to take a front seat. And with that, we’re going to pause in solidarity.”
Here’s @ESPN’s Elle Duncan getting very upset that teachers can’t talk to very young children about sex and gender identity:
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) March 18, 2022
As reported by The Daily Wire, the “Parental Rights in Education” does not use the word “gay,” but “removes classroom instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity for Florida’s K-3rd grade students.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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