After the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, ESPN has decided to air the national anthem following a moment of silence before Monday Night Football. The Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to host the Washington Redskins.
ESPN says it will not televise the national anthem before the National Football League’s next game.
“ESPN MNF will not carry the anthem live,” spokesman Mac Nwulu told Sporting News, referencing the latest “Monday Night Football” contest.
The Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to host the Washington Redskins in Kansas City, Missouri late Monday amid raging national debate over the NFL’s handling of national anthem protests.
ESPN previously passed on showing live NFL player protests during the league’s Week 4 games last weekend, and its treatment of Monday’s competition continues that trend.
Some Twitter users on Monday criticized ESPN’s move after the sports network televised the anthem playing live during the NFL’s Week 3.
ESPN has returned to its normal NFL coverage strategy after showing the anthem as it was played live during the “Monday Night Football” tilt one week ago.
The channel did not show fans booing protesting NFL employees before the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Arizona Cardinals 28-17.
“God bless America,” ESPN play-by-play announcer Sean McDonagh said after noting some fans upset by the demonstrations.
The NFL’s television partners typically do not focus on players before “The Star-Spangled Banner” is sang or played or the U.S. flag is unfurled.
Multiple networks all provided live anthem coverage during the NFL’s Week 3, however, amid high viewer interest in what the league’s employees would do during the song.
ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, NFL Network and DirecTV all covered the moment live last week.
Scores of NFL coaches, executives and players have knelt during the anthem since President Trump derided the gesture last month.
Trump has demanded that the NFL fire employees who perform the controversial move, which was popularized by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last year to protest against America’s racial injustice, a move that has since inspired countless imitators across several sports.