On Friday, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro confirmed that the network will not be including the national anthem as part of its coverage before "Monday Night Football" games in 2018. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro told reporters today that could change re: news but per Fischer: ESPN communicated that plan to the National Football League "as courtesy and good partners". "Again that could change".
"It's unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we're not", said Pitaro.
ESPN had shown the national anthem before games in the past, but opted, for the most part, not to do so previous year.
Back in May, the NFL decided that teams would be fined if players didn't stand during the national anthem while on the field, and that each team is free to develop their own rules regarding players and personnel who protest on the field during the national anthem. "They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are". "We are always going to cover the intersection between sports and politics", he said.
The news comes as the NFL the players' union work to announce a season policy for kneeling after the league backtracked on an order that players must stand at attention during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner or remain in the locker room.
The NFL sought to end the controversy over national anthem protests by imposing a policy earlier this year that would prevent players from protesting. This includes examples of a player taking a knee or the Eagles being disinvited from the White House.
ESPN senior vice president Stephanie Druley said, "We've seen the data from our fans that they like the game and that's what they want".