ESPN President: MNF Won't Show Anthem This Season

Joann Johnston
August 18, 2018

New ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said on Friday that the network will not show the national anthem during Monday Night Football broadcasts, which is a return to standard operating procedure and a recognition of fans' desires.

"We generally have not broadcasted the anthem and I don't think that will change this year".

He added: "Again that could change".

ESPN had shown the national anthem before games in the past, but opted, for the most part, not to do so previous year.

ESPN pays about $2 billion per year for the right to broadcast Monday Night Football, according to the Associated Press. "We're optimistic about not just about the next four years but for the long-term partnership".

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The network showed the anthem on the 16th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the day after the deadly shootings in Las Vegas and the first Monday after President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE began attacking players who protested during "The Star-Spangled Banner", the Times noted.

Once a rote part of many athletic events, the Anthem has become a polarizing aspect of National Football League games, as some players choose to kneel to protest treatment of African-Americans in the U.S.

When asked what the most inaccurate perception of ESPN is, Pitaro said it was branding the network a "political organization".

The question remains whether ESPN broadcasters will tell the audience who did, or did not protest the anthem when they come back from commercial. "We are always going to cover the intersection between sports and politics", he said.

"We are the place of record for sports when something happens, when the Eagles are disinvited to the White House, we are going to cover that".

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