ESPN Radio Hosts Call Transgender Athlete “It” In Disgusting Rant

Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin of Washington D.C.’s 980 AM ESPN Radio went into a vile, transphobic rant last Thursday over transgender college basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig, referring to her as “it” and criticizing her appearance.

Outsports reports:

  • They said transgender people should not be allowed to play sports. ”Whatever you’ve got to do to scratch that inner itch and quell those inner demons, that’s fine. But don’t go playing sports then. And don’t go playing sports saying, ‘but I’ve go the rights of everyone else.’”
  • They make fun of Ludwig’s appearance, including her biceps and tattoos. Clearly reacting to photographs, they expressed deep-seeded disgust at her appearance. “That could be a Russian chick,” they said as they cackled.
  • They referred to her as “he/she” and as “it.” “I think ‘it’ is the politically correct term.”

Helen Carroll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said Czaban’s and Pollin’s comments were “horrific” and showed “a level of disrespect and harmful rhetoric that is inexcusable.”

“Unfortunately, the many transgender sports participants I have had the privilege to work with, are not shielded from hateful people such as Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin,” Carroll said in a statement. ” I would think that a sports network that espouses respect for LGBT people will see the harm that is occurring with this rant, be forthcoming with an apology and take immediate action against these two so-called sports radio professionals.”

Czaban and Pollin issued a 10-second apology on Monday but Outsports is calling for their suspension:

There is simply no legitimate reaction the station could possibly have but to suspend everyone involved. These are disgusting comments of the highest order, meant to demean another human being who has broken no rules and no laws. These men are a disgrace to their profession, and they should be suspended without pay.

980 AM Vice President for Programming Chuck Sapienza said Monday that Pollin and Czaban “were dealt with internally in a swift manner” but their contracts preclude him from publicly commenting “on any disciplinary actions.”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #basketball #espn #gabrielleludwig stories and more


  • tdx3fan

    If you do not like what they say then do not listen to it. However, they have the right to say it. The radio station and its fans decide who should be suspended not the gay community. Every single time we get all shocked and outraged by this kind of stupidity it just presents us as being unable to handle anything negative that is said about us. That is not the narrative I desire to espouse.

  • Thedrdonna

    @tdx3fan: I’m curious, what would you say is the narrative you’re trying to create? Why doesn’t it involve calling out people with broad media platforms who use disgusting, bigoted, or ignorant language? What do you propose to do instead? Sure, they have a free right to say whatever they want, and we have a right to express our disgust if that is what we want to do. If I saw someone today, on the street, using racial epithets, I would call them out. That sort of response doesn’t make racial minorities sound “unable to handle anything negative that is said about [them],” it makes it clear that there is rational, legitimate discourse, and the use of that kind of language is actively discouraging to that discourse.

    The Republicans didn’t listen to the people who said things they didn’t like this last election, and look at how well that turned out for them. Just sayin’.

  • Callum

    The photograph of the two homophobes remind me of Rush Limbaugh, all fat disgusting pigs. They and the station may have a right to their opinions, but I would suspect the advertisers and ESPN itself would not want the adverse reaction a simple boycott of their product or brand.

  • erasure25

    @tdx3fan: Just as they have the right to make disgusting comments, we have a right to call them out and demand their suspension or firing. They have no right to a job. Usually, decency wins out and broadcast execs don’t like keeping people who are vile and disgusting on their air. If we don’t complain, it sends a message that it is ok to spew hate speech about trans folks. It is not ok. Complacency gives tacit approval to bad behavior.

  • Mooz

    You don’t belong to ‘us’. We’re the ones who will not shut up and play nice. Don’t try to silence us or blame us for being unable to handle anything negative. We’re handling this just fine. Don’t like it? Go and espouse your narrative somewhere else.

  • 2eo

    @tdx3fan: Wow, that’s an utterly dimwitted way of looking at things even by your incredibly low standards.

    Mooz put the right response to such idiocy quite superbly so I shall reiterate it. You speak for nobody, you don’t even have the worth too defend yourself, how pathetic.

    This is disgraceful and they should both lose their jobs over this. It is NOT acceptable under any circumstances to ever refer to someone who is transgender as “it”.

  • Rockery


    How does that even make any sense?

  • FStratford


    You are an idiot. The company that owns ESPN – their employer – has always encouraged us to defend our selves through words or deeds. Who the hell are you to say what we can or can not say about a DISNEY company when Disney?

    Disney has NEVER said anything like “If you dont like it dont watch”, so why are you putting words into their (corporate) mouth?

    Again, who do you think you are that you can speak on behalf of Disney?

  • jwrappaport

    @tdx3fan: Nobody is suggesting that they shouldn’t be legally allowed to say what they want – what we are saying is that we won’t put up with it, and that we will call out bigotry and hatred when we hear it.

  • Spike

    Gee, this is confusing, where are all the resident Queerty’s boycott queens? Why aren’t they posting that they will never ever ever again listen or watch ESPN again, never mind they don’t have a clue who are what ESPN is nor where they would find it. LOL, you know who you are, silly girls!

Comments are closed.