ESPN pauses coverage of women’s basketball match in protest at Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he will sign controversial law when it arrives on his desk

ESPN pauses coverage of women’s basketball match in protest at Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Two ESPN announcers paused coverage of a women’s basketball match in protest of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay bill.”

To begin the second half of the game between South Carolina and Howard, the sport network’s Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle instead talked about their solidarity with Disney employees over Florida House Bill 157. ESPN has been owned by Disney since 1996.

“Normally at this time we would take a look back at the first half,” Lyle said instead of introducing the second half action.

“But there are things bigger than basketball that need to be addressed at this time. Our friends our family, our co-workers — the players and coaches in our community are hurting right now.”

She said that they were acting in support of “our LGBTQIA+ teammates at Disney” who has “asked for our solidarity and support” in opposing the controversial legislation.

Peck then announced that the broadcast would take a moment of silence.

“A threat to any human rights is a threat to all human rights,” Peck said.

“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.”

When the game started they refused to commentate on the action for two minutes.

“We love our teammates. We support our teammates. We are one,” said Lyle when the pair ended the silence.

“Absolutely,” replied Peck.

Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek came under heavy criticism from the company’s employees after refusing to publicly condemn the bill.

Four days later he offered a public apology for taking that position on behalf of Florida’s largest private employer.

“I truly believe we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ+ community,” he wrote.

“I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on — and I will be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility, and opportunity you deserve.”

Disney employees have continued to publicly critique the executive and have carried out a string of walkouts.

The bill bans “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade, and allows parents to sue school districts.

The state legislature has already passed the bill and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he will sign it when it arrives on his desk.

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