ESPN will not broadcast the national anthem before “Monday Night Football” games this season, network President Jimmy Pitaro said 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 during ESPN Football Media Day, according to Axios’ Sara Fischer.
He added: “Again that could change. It’s unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we’re not. We have communicated that back to the NFL. They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are.”
After showing the national anthem before games in the past, the “Monday Night Football” production team decided not to do so last year. ESPN sources told the Washington Post that decision was made in order to allow more time during the broadcast to discuss the game.
Some exceptions were made to that policy. The broadcast included the anthem last season on the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the day after the deadly shootings in Las Vegas and the first Monday after President Trump began publicly criticizing players who protested during the song.