ESPN is hosting its annual Media Day in Bristol Friday. During the event, the network's new president, Jimmy Pitaro, explained that the Worldwide Leader in Sports does not plan to broadcast the national anthem before Monday Night Football games this season.
This isn't out of the ordinary—the network hasn't broadcast the anthem in the past—but some have wondered whether the network would begin airing the anthem, given the increased attention the ritual has engendered since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in Aug. 2016.
1/2 ESPN will not be broadcasting the National Anthem on Monday nights this year.— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018
"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 ...
2/2 " ... 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 NF. They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are." - ESPN Pres. Jimmy Pitaro— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018
Pitaro has been adamant that ESPN is a sports-focused media organization, though the Worldwide Leader will touch on politics when that realm intersects with sports.
Pitaro: "ESPN is NOT a political organization. It's not our job to politics, purely, but we'll cover the intersection of sports & politics. "When something happens, when Eagles disinvited from White House, when someone takes a knee, if we think newsworthy were going to cover it."— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018