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ESPN hosting annual Pride flag-raising amid controversy surrounding own reporter’s support for Riley Gaines

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As the debate over whether trans women should compete in women’s sports rages, ESPN will be hosting its annual Pride flag raising at its headquarters tomorrow in honor of the start of Pride month.

The flag will feature the trans colors of pink and blue in addition to the classic rainbow pride flag, a sign of the network’s support for the trans community. 

Though this year’s flag raising seems more fraught controversy, as it will happen only days after fellow reporters blasted ESPN broadcaster Samantha Ponder for arguing that trans women should not be competing in women’s sports. 

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Pride Progress flag

A photo of a Pride Progress flag, which includes colors from the Transgender Pride Flag. (Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Outkick founder Clay Travis tweeted about the upcoming event on his page Friday, sharing what appeared to be a screenshot of an internal ESPN form advertising a party for the flag-raising at the sports network’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

“ESPN will host a trans pride flag raise on campus tomorrow as part of pride month. It comes as the company advocates for men to play in women’s sports and refuses to support @samponder, who was called a bigot for supporting women only in women’s sports,” Travis tweeted. 

The form noted the event, the “Flag-raising in Bristol,” was being putting on by ESPN’s diversity and inclusivity team, “ESPN EQUAL.” ESPN has previously held a pride flag-raising event at its headquarters in honor of Pride Month for a number of years now.

A brief description of the event read, “ESPN EQUAL opens Pride Month raising the progressive pride flag at ESPN. Join at the Bristol campus flag pole next to Building 9. Rainbow cupcakes and lemonade will be served.”

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Ponder at an event

ESPN’s Samantha Ponder was blasted by members of the media for speaking out against trans women competing in women’s sports.  (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The form also displayed a picture of the current iteration of the pride flag, the mostly rainbow banner that features an additional triangle comprised of pink, light blue, black and brown colors representing trans and ethnic minorities.

In a subsequent tweet, Travis wrote, “This flag is not the usual gay pride flag, it’s newly designed to incorporate trans rights and feels like a direct attack on any employee who doesn’t support men in women’s sports.”

The flag-raising is occurring just several days after Ponder was criticized in a USA Today column for defending the views of former college athlete and women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines.

“I barely said anything publicly abt this issue & I’ve had so many ppl msg me, stop me in the street to say thank you+ tell me stories abt girls who are afraid to speak up for fear of lost employment/being called hateful. It is not hateful to demand fairness in sports for girls,” Ponder tweeted.

Columnist Nancy Armour, along with several other journals, accused Ponder of promoting “plain old bigotry” for standing against trans women competing on women’s teams. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Travis and ESPN for further confirmation of the existence of the flag-raising event. 

ESPN EQUAL form

An image of a registration form for ESPN EQUAL’s pride flag-raising event. (Screenshot)

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Travis insisted “It’s real,” and provided Fox with a direct sign-up link to the event which contained the event’s title as well another short description of it. It stated, “ESPN EQUAL opens Pride Month as we raise the progressive pride flag at ESPN. Join us as we kick off a month of events. Please leave your name and email in case we need to reschedule for rain.”

ESPN declined to comment on the story.

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