**ESPN Raises Trans-Inclusive Pride Flag, Ignites Controversy**
ESPN is raising a progressive Pride flag that includes transgender colors at its Connecticut headquarters, kicking off Pride Month celebrations. Yet, the move comes just days after the network faced backlash for one of its broadcaster’s opposition to trans women competing in women’s sports.
The progressive Pride flag, endorsed by the Human Rights Organization, adds white, pink, and light blue stripes to the standard rainbow flag to represent the transgender community. ESPN’s decision to fly this specific flag was immediately criticized, particularly in light of the recent intense debate surrounding the inclusion of trans athletes in women’s sports. ESPN broadcaster Samantha Ponder found herself at the center of the storm after arguing that trans women should not be allowed to compete in this category.
OutKick’s Clay Travis brought attention to the flag-raising event on Twitter, questioning whether it represented ESPN’s advocacy for allowing men to play in women’s sports. Travis described the decision to fly the trans-inclusive Pride flag as “a direct attack” on employees who oppose men competing in women’s sports.
To add fuel to the fire, ESPN had previously faced criticism when USA Today’s Nancy Armour referred to Ponder’s stance as “plain old bigotry.” Ponder defended herself, saying that her position stems from a desire to ensure fair play in women’s sports and not from any animosity towards the transgender community.
The flag-raising event is not the first of its kind for ESPN, which has held Pride celebrations for several years. However, the inclusion of the trans-specific colors this year has drawn increased attention and controversy. Both Travis and ESPN confirmed the event’s validity, though ESPN declined to comment on the story.
**ESPN’s Flag-Raising Highlights Continuing Debate on Trans Athletes and Women’s Sports**