Amid the mass kneeling and interlocking arms during the national anthem on Sunday’s NFL games, ESPN will air the Star Spangled Banner during its Monday Night Football broadcast between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. ESPN will also show the “Inside These Lines” unity ad that aired on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

These decisions come after President Trump’s incendiary comments on Friday calling NFL players who kneel during the national anthem “SOB’s” and saying they should be fired. In response, some players kneeled while others locked arms with team owners as a display of unity.

Trump’s comments led to plenty of discussion on the NFL pregame shows on Sunday and continues to be heavily covered on not just the sports networks, but the news networks as well.

CBS, Fox, and NBC all aired the national anthem during their NFL coverage and it was also shown during Verizon’s stream of the Baltimore-Jacksonville game from London.

This has become a volatile time for the NFL, as it has to not only deal with President Trump’s comments, but also added scrutiny from fans, non-fans, and the media. With attention on players kneeling during the national anthem, it’s led the NFL’s media partners to air the various renditions from each stadium as this has become a huge national story.

So ESPN will join its NFL TV brethren in airing both the national anthem and the famous unity ad. The NFL is trying to send a message, and it’s hoping President Trump will see it.

[Hollywood Reporter]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.