WASHINGTON (Circa)-- Don't expect to hear the National Anthem during Monday night football, at least if you're tuning in on ESPN, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The sports network announced Friday that it won't air the song, according to ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro. He added that there may be exceptions as the season moves forward, but it won't air the preseason portion of the game, as it has been the standard in years prior.
More on ESPN/National Anthem discussion:— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018
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"We've seen the data from our fans that they like the game and that's what they want. So that's where we will keep our focus."
The announcement follows months of controversy in which some professional football players began to kneel during the national anthem to protest injustices against the African American community in the U.S. The repeated protests garnered praise and condemnation from both sides of the aisle--going as far up as the White House.
Just before the 2018 preseason began, team owners implemented a rule change allowing players to protest, but only inside the locker room. If they take a knee publicly, the players will be fined.
So far, that rule change hasn't stopped players from kneeling publicly in the preseason, which is in its second week.
Check out: We asked veterans how they really feel about NFL anthem protests