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ESPN announcers protest Florida's ‘Don't Say Gay' bill with 2 minutes of silence

WFLA Tampa logo WFLA Tampa 3/19/2022 Dylan Abad
ESPN announcers protest Florida's ‘Don't Say Gay' bill with 2 minutes of silence © Provided by WFLA Tampa ESPN announcers protest Florida's ‘Don't Say Gay' bill with 2 minutes of silence

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Two ESPN announcers sat in silence for two minutes during an NCAA women's basketball tournament game Friday to protest Florida’s pending ‘Parental Rights in Education' legislation, dubbed by critics as the ‘Don't Say Gay' bill.

According to supporters, the bill aims to shield kindergarten through third-grade students from material that's not "age-appropriate." The bill was passed by the Florida Senate in a 22-17 vote before it headed to the desk of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, where it's expected to be signed into law.

Florida's ‘Don't Say Gay' expected to become law, What's it mean?

During Friday's matchup between South Carolina and Howard, ESPN announcers Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck sat silently at the start of the second half. The two women explained they were showing “solidarity” and “support” with players, coaches, and colleagues who were also protesting 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. And 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."

Peck added, "And a threat to any human rights is a threat to all human rights. “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."

Earlier in the week, workers at Dinsey, who owns ESPN, planned walkouts to protest what they said was their company's lack of action in stopping the bill. The move followed Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s announcement that Disney would pause all political donations in Florida over the bill.

DeSantis dismisses ‘Don't Say Gay' criticism from ‘woke' Disney

DeSantis later brushed off criticism from the Disney CEO, calling the company one of the "woke corporations" adding that "when you have companies that have made a fortune off being family-friendly and catering to families and young kids, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kids' kindergarten classroom," according to video obtained by Fox News.

DeSantis said he is likely to support the legislation, saying "the chance that I am going to back down from my commitment to students and back down from my commitment to parents’ rights simply because of fraudulent media narratives or pressure from woke corporations, the chances of that are zero."

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