Multiple ESPN personalities are defending the Special Olympics after Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosGOP lawmakers urge Cardona against executive student loan wipeout More insidious power grab than one attempted Jan. 6? Betsy DeVos not running for Michigan governor MORE's proposed budget cut funding for the organization, which was founded more than 50 years ago.
The defense from the sports network's stars comes after DeVos appeared before a House subcommittee on Tuesday to go over her department’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which included what she called "difficult decisions" that include $18 million in federal funding cuts to the Special Olympics, according to an NBC News report.
“Please read this @BetsyDeVos," tweeted ESPN personality and former U.S. women's soccer standout Julie Foudy. "God, you need to only spend .01 minute watching these @SpecialOlympics athletes perform to understand the power of this program.”
Tony Reali, host of "Around the Horn,” a sports debate program that airs weekday afternoons, also took to Twitter:
The power of sports lies in the ability to instill & inspire positive change-& that’s at the core of what @SpecialOlympics does. Athletes have opportunities to discover new skills and abilities. Those discoveries lead to joy, confidence & enhancement on & off the playing field.— Tony Reali (@TonyReali) March 27, 2019
Other ESPN personalities weighed in to urge DeVos to reconsider the cuts, calling them “tough to watch.”
The power of inclusion is not just a 2-week @SpecialOlympics event.. it has a daily impact on athletes, families, friends, coaches, unified partners, volunteers.. you realize what is most important--to live life without judgement, w an open mind and heart #ChoosetoInclude (END)— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) March 27, 2019
Special Olympics CHANGES LIVES. That’s not hyperbole. Some of the most joyful, strong, courageous, inspiring, determined, positive people on the planet are @SpecialOlympics athletes. They are the best of us. pic.twitter.com/azl921ThTz— Jen Lada (@JenLada) March 26, 2019
ESPN just completed its coverage of the March 14-21 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, including more hours of coverage than previous years.
“I think Special Olympics is an awesome organization, one that is well supported by the philanthropic sector as well,” DeVos said on Tuesday.