ESPN Radio drops NCAA game over national anthem protest

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An ESPN Radio affiliate in North Carolina will not broadcast an upcoming East Carolina football game after it said some members of the school band “disgraced themselves” during a “Star-Spangled Banner” protest on Saturday.

{mosads}Colonial Media and Entertainment, the operating company behind ESPN Fayetteville, released a statement regarding the decision on Tuesday.

“Several members of the band refused to play the National Anthem and others ‘took a knee’ during the performance, with the result that roughly a dozen band members disgraced themselves on the football field this past weekend,” chairman/CEO Jeff Andrulonis wrote.

“I’m proud of our country and I’m proud of our soldiers…especially our soldiers from Fort Bragg…fighting for our country so I’ve decided that ESPN Fayetteville will ‘protest the protest,’” Andrulonis said.

Andrulonis argued that while band members may exercise their First Amendment rights, that won’t do so in this case “with no repercussions.”

Nineteen members of the East Carolina band kneeled and/or did not play their instruments during the national anthem before last weekend’s game against Central Florida. The same members also did not participate in the band’s halftime performance.

Nationwide “Star-Spangled Banner” protests began when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand before an NFL preseason game because of what he calls “racial injustice and police brutality in America.”


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