ESPN Won’t Air National Anthem on ‘MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL’

ESPN Presitdent Jimmy Pitaro

New ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro told reporters Friday that the network does not plan to televise the national anthem as part of its Monday Night Football broadcasts this season.

Pitaro, who was hired March 5 following the abrupt departure of John Skipper, told reporters at a media event on ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Conn., that the network has not previously shown the national anthem during its Monday Night Football broadcasts and does not have plans to change — at least, not in the immediate future.

Demonstrations during the national anthem have become a hot-button issue for the NFL over the past two years, dating back to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to first take a knee during the anthem in 2016. Players have described the demonstrations as a means of protesting police brutality and racial inequality, but critics — including the president — have denounced them as disrespectful to the military and unpatriotic.

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