The controversy continues with the National Football League (NFL) as ESPN announced the network will not broadcast the national anthem again this year before “Monday Night Football” games, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“We generally have not broadcasted the anthem, and I don’t think that will change this year. Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem,” ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said on Friday, per Axios’ Sara Fischer.
2/2 ” … again that could change. It’s unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we’re not. We have communicated that back to the NF. They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are.” – ESPN Pres. Jimmy Pitaro
— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018
“Again that could change,” he added. “It’s unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we’re not. We have communicated that back to the NFL. They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are.
Many people took to Twitter to express their outrage over the decision:
— Joey Bag o’ Donuts (@dwellyman) August 17, 2018
Too bad no one will be watching [to miss it] anyways
— Jalapeña – User of Straws (@XsmallJay) August 17, 2018
That’s ok because the rest of us aren’t watching football anymore.
— Blue (@emantk7) August 18, 2018
What does this accomplish? Fans love seeing the National Anthrm. We are all Americans! This is not how it works? pic.twitter.com/ZCIaxxEGkc
— Camden Forse (@cforse1500) August 17, 2018
— Melissa Edwards (@MellEdwards) August 18, 2018
Others have just kissed goodbye to ESPN and the NFL:
I guess @espn doesn’t want viewers.
Okie dokie. pic.twitter.com/DlPhGjYQ8l
— Glennie Sims (@glennie_sims) August 17, 2018
Hey ESPN: pic.twitter.com/g3Byeht4YC
— Jon (@TheDelMarKid) August 17, 2018
Not watching anyways pic.twitter.com/0viQZdVZ4O
— Daryl Buchanon (@dbuchanon1) August 17, 2018
Last year, ESPN also chose to not broadcast the national anthem in order to allow more time for commentary before games, network sources indicated.
Exceptions were made for the anthem broadcast last season, however, including on the sixteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the day after the Las Vegas massacre and the first Monday after President Donald Trump began blasting players for kneeling during the song.
The protests all began when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and then kneeled for the national anthem during the 2016 season.