ESPN Announcers Stay Silent for 2 Minutes During NCAA Women’s Basketball, Protesting Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Toby Hazlewood

A gesture of solidarity with Disney employees
Basketball playersShutterstock

During the weekend's NCAA Women's basketball tournament, two female announcers chose to make a symbolic protest against Florida's recently approved 'Parental Rights in Education' bill - dubbed by critics as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill.

Commentators Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle spoke during a break in the action on court, to express their views on the recently approved bill which will prevent discussions of sexuality and gender orientation in Florida's primary school classrooms.

After delivering their speech, they sat in silence for 2 minutes as the basketball resumed.

An act of solidarity?

The gesture by Peck and Lyle was intended to be an act of solidarity with other employees of the Disney corporation who are protesting against the approval of the bill:

"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."

They continued:

"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." 

Whether their gesture achieved very much - other than mild annoyance for those watching the game - is hard to judge.

Florida - "Where woke goes to die"

As far as Governor DeSantis and his state government are concerned, the awkward silence of commentators during a basketball game is unlikely to dampen his resolve regarding the bill.

In a speech to the Conservative Federalist Society in February, the governor was forthright about how he views the state of Florida in regard to such matters:

“This is where ‘woke’ goes to die."

Indeed, another of the bills to be approved during the state's legislative season was the Stop WOKE act which prohibits the teaching of critical race theory in Florida's schools and workplaces.

Whether the Disney protests and other symbolic gestures by individuals and corporations has any effect on the long-term future of the state's recent changes in law, remains to be seen.

What do you think about new laws in Florida such as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill and the Stop WOKE act? Are you supportive of these measures or do you think they infringe upon the rights of some groups and individuals? Let me know in the comments section below.

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