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ESPN Broadcasters Protest 'Don't Say Gay' Bill With Moment of Silence

ESPN Broadcasters Protest 'Don't Say Gay' Bill With Moment of Silence

NCAA Tournament Broadcast Goes Silent in “Don’t Say Gay” Protest

The announcers showed their solidarity with fellow Disney employees.

March Madness took a saner turn last Friday when the announcers of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament went silent to show their support for their fellow Disney coworkers protesting Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.

ESPN broadcasters Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle were announcing the first-round matchup between the top-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks and the number 16 seed Bison of Howard. But they began the second half by turning from the hardwood to their colleagues in Florida currently battling HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill that would limit discussion of sex and gender among students.

"Normally at this time we would take a look back at the first half, but there are things that are bigger than basketball that need to be addressed at this time," Lyle said to open the broadcast of the second half. "Our friends, our family, our coworkers, the players and coaches in our community are hurting right now."

Lyle revealed their "LGBTQIA+ teammates at Disney" (The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ESPN) had asked for their "solidarity and support in opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill in the state of Florida and similar legislation across the United States."

Peck then quickly summarized the situation and made clear their intent.

"The threat to any human rights is a threat to all human rights, 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 families, and our colleagues," Peck said.

The pair remained silent as the second half commenced.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek had generated controversy for his refusal to take a public stance against the proposed law that would regulate discussion of sex and gender in Florida's schools, initially saying in an internal email that corporate statements "do very little to change outcomes or minds" while creating inclusive content has the "biggest impact." Chapek later reversed course, addressed his concerns about the bill with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and signed a letter with the Human Right Campaign decrying the legislation. HRC later said it would refuse further donations from Disney pending the company's future actions.

Meanwhile on the court Friday, the top-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks dominated the number 16 seed Howard Bison, leading 44-4 at the half and cruising to a 79-21 victory.

RELATED | Marvel Writer Donates Pay After Disney's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Controversy

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