“ESPN will largely avoid broadcasting the playing of the national anthem during ‘Monday Night Football,’ continuing a practice it has followed in past seasons even as controversy has swirled around that element of NFL games,” Variety reports.
The report quotes ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro, speaking today to reporters, saying: “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.”
Pitaro added that broadcast teams are likely to make exceptions as news dictates.
“Once a rote part of many athletic events, the anthem has become a polarizing aspect of NFL games, as some players choose to kneel to protest treatment of African-Americans in the U.S.,” Variety notes. “Many sports networks do not regularly broadcast the anthem, but the decision has become politically fraught after President Donald Trump has urged the NFL to clamp down on the practice.”