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Radio station won't air East Carolina game after band members knelt during national anthem

Radio station won't air East Carolina game after band members knelt during national anthem
Some East Carolina band members kneel in protest while playing the national anthem on Oct. 1. (CBS North Carolina / YouTube)

East Carolina band members were warned by school officials Monday that kneeling during the national anthem will no longer be tolerated. But apparently that wasn't good enough for Fayetteville ESPN, a radio station that carries Marching Pirates football games.

Colonial Media and Entertainment announced Tuesday that WFAY AM/FM would not broadcast ECU's game against South Florida on Saturday after 19 band members took a knee while playing the anthem before the team's game against Central Florida last week.

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"Roughly a dozen band members disgraced themselves on the football field this past weekend," Colonial chairman and CEO Jeff Andrulonis said in a statement. "I'm proud of our country and I'm proud of our soldiers … especially our soldiers from Ft. Bragg … fighting for our country so I've decided that ESPN Fayetteville will 'protest the protest.' "

Andrulonis goes on to call the protest "shameful" and states that all the sponsors he's spoken to so far agree with his decision.

Many fans booed following the anthem.

On Monday, band director William Staub, School of Music director Christopher Ulffers and College of Fine Arts and Communication dean Christopher Buddo issued a joint statement Monday saying they "regret the actions" of those 19 band members and expect they "will learn from this experience and fulfill their responsibilities."

Andrulonis stated his station will carry ECU's remaining games as scheduled after Saturday.

"The band members could have quietly protested in the early morning hours before the game. But that would have required them to wake up early," Andrulonis said in the statement. "So instead they chose to make a spectacle of themselves in front of the big crowd at Dowd-Ficklen. They're college students and it's about time they get an education on the concept that their actions have consequences."

Twitter: @chewkiii

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