Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN won’t air national anthem on Monday Night Football

Lucy Burdge
August 18, 2018 - 10:22 am

ESPN’s new president Jimmy Pitaro said on Friday the network will not air the national anthem before Monday Night Football games this season.

Player protests during the national anthem have become a controversial issue for the NFL in the past couple of seasons, with players taking a knee to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

ESPN aired the anthem three times last season.

“ESPN is not a political organization,” Pitaro said. “It’s not our job to cover politics, purely, but we’ll cover the intersection of sports and politics. When something happens, when the Eagles are disinvited from the White House, when someone takes a knee, when we think it’s newsworthy we’re going to cover it.”

Stephanie Druley, ESPN’s senior vice president said, “We’ve seen the data from our fans that they like the game and that’s what they want. So that’s where we’ll keep our focus.”

ESPN informed this NFL of this decision “as courtesy and good partners.”

Pitaro also made it clear he wants the relationship between the network and the NFL to continue.

“We want to be in business with the NFL and I believe they want to be in business with us,” he said. “We’re optimistic about not just the next four years but for the long-term partnership.”