In a shocking display of hostility, former NCAA Division 1 athletes Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlan were among those targeted by aggressive protesters during the ceremonial signing of the “Save Women’s Sports Act” in Texas.
The event, held at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, was marred by the unruly behavior of the protesters who spat at and threw items at the attendees.
The bill, previously signed into law in June, was ceremonially signed again by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, with Gaines and Scanlan standing in support.
However, the celebration was overshadowed by the disturbing actions of the protesters. Michelle Evans, leader of the Independent Women’s Network’s Austin chapter, described the crowd as “rabid” after she was assaulted while observing the protest.
Save Women's Sports Act is now law in Texas🤝🏼
Which state should we push for next? pic.twitter.com/FFfjLPdfDj
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) August 7, 2023
Gaines, host of the OutKick podcast “Gaines for Girls,” shared her observations of the protest with Fox News Digital.
She noted that despite the attempts of the protesters to tarnish the event, the signing of SB 15, which protects female collegiate athletics, was a significant victory. Gaines praised Governor Abbott’s leadership and expressed hope that more states would follow Texas’ example.
The protest escalated to alarming levels, with bottles being thrown, profanity being yelled at children, and protesters spitting in people’s faces.
Law enforcement had to step in to provide protection. Paula Scanlan, a former swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, shared on social media that protesters blocked exits and were “spitting and yelling.”
Despite the chaos, Scanlan managed to exit the event safely and remained hopeful about the progress made in Texas.
Michelle Evans recounted a particularly disturbing incident where she was physically blocked from reentering the building, had water thrown at her, and was threatened by a protester who claimed to know where she lived.
A woman in a pink ski mask and sunglasses even spat into her open eye. Evans reported the assault to law enforcement, leading to the apprehension of a suspect who was issued a citation for misdemeanor assault.
Crazy leftist women and trans people attacked Riley Gaines and a group of women who were promoting the Save Women Sports Act.
They spat on them.
They called them racist and sexist.
All because REAL women LIKE ME feel they should not have to compete against biological males.…
— Ada Lluch 🇪🇸 (@ada_lluch) August 8, 2023
Evans expressed deep concern over the treatment of young girls who attended the signing. As they were escorted out by their mothers and police officers, protesters got in their faces, screaming and harassing them.
This frightening experience was described by Evans as “out of control.”
Governor Abbott, when asked about the protests, expressed his disappointment that the protesters could not peacefully listen to what Paula and Riley had to say. He emphasized that no one should have to go through such an ordeal and vowed to ensure it does not happen again.
The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” or SB 15, follows similar legislation signed by Abbott in 2021 requiring public school teams in Texas to be designated by students’ sex assigned at birth.
With at least 20 states passing similar laws, SB 15 is seen as a positive step towards ensuring women’s rights in sports. However, as Evans pointed out, there is still a long way to go.
The fight for women’s rights continues, and the events in Texas serve as a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.