ESPN will not broadcast national anthem before ‘Monday Night Football’ games this season

ESPN will not broadcast national anthem before ‘Monday Night Football’ games this season
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ESPN will not broadcast the national anthem before NFL games this season, network President Jimmy Pitaro announced Friday.

“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 said, according to an Axios reporter.

“Again that could change. It's unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we’re not,” Piatro continued. “We have communicated that back to the [NFL]. They have not asked but as a courtesy and good partners, we have let them know what our plans are.”

The Los Angeles Times noted Friday that the “Monday Night Football” production team decided last year that it would no longer broadcast the anthem, with officials saying it would allow for more discussion time.

ESPN, however, did make exceptions during last season.

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The network showed the anthem on the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the day after the deadly shootings in Las Vegas and the first Monday after President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE began attacking players who protested during "The Star-Spangled Banner," the Times noted.

The network's decision for the upcoming season comes amid an ongoing battle between Trump and players who kneel in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

The NFL sought to end the controversy over national anthem protests by imposing a policy earlier this year that would prevent players from protesting. But the policy was later placed on hold after backlash.

Trump last week called for players who protest during the anthem to be suspended, claiming they “wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define.”

Pitaro was quoted at ESPN Football Media Day on Friday saying that the broadcasting network is not a "political organization."

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