Fox making surprising decision to not show national anthem at NFL games this week?

A curious decision to back away from this ongoing story?

The ongoing debate around NFL players protesting during the national anthem last Sunday has dominated the news cycle not just in sports, but everywhere. It’s been the biggest story in the country the past week, ever since President Trump used an expletive to criticize athletes taking a knee to protest injustice. After Trump inserted himself into the situation in his typically bombastic and unapologetic way, exponentially more players took part in some kind of public display during the anthem.

Last week, Fox and CBS were on top of the story as it transpired, both talking about it at length on their pregame shows and going to the stadiums early to witness how players responded during the anthems instead of taking a commercial break like normal. It was appropriate given how it transcended the league into the social fabric at large.

Given the way the story has continued to be in the headlines throughout the week, it’s a surprise to see that Fox Sports President Eric Shanks says his network is going to be back to business as normal this week. He says that as of now, Fox plans on not showing the national anthem to viewers at home this Sunday.

Via Newsday:

Fox Sports president Eric Shanks said the network does not plan to show national anthems live at its NFL games on Sunday, the way it did last weekend, when some players took a knee and many executives, coaches and players locked arms before games.

“The standard procedure is not to show them because of the way the commercial format works and the timing of the anthem to get to the kickoff,” Shanks said Tuesday at an event to promote Fox’s soccer coverage of the 2018 World Cup. “So I think we’re going to pay attention to events.

“Who knows what’s going to happen? A lot of time is happening between now and then. But I think the plan would be to get back to a normal schedule. I think that’s where we sit today on a Tuesday . . . It seems like there’s more than 24 hours in a day now, doesn’t there?”

This is curious, to say the least. Given the way the story has continued to develop and evolve, it’s going to be incredibly newsworthy to see what happens and how teams respond to the anthem this week. Will there be even more players taking a knee? More linking arms? More signs of unity? More teams sitting in the locker room? It’s impossible for Fox or any network that has a relationship with the NFL to think that this is purely a one week story.

Perhaps the thought is that Fox wants to get the focus on football so as to not risk alienating fans? We’ve already people respond in emotional and visceral ways by doing things like burning season tickets and jerseys.

Regardless, it’s impossible to go back to a normal schedule now when the NFL and its athletes are in the middle of a culture war with the sitting President of the United States. The anthem will be a huge story this week and likely will be throughout the remainder of the season as well.


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

  • John Danknich

    It’s about time that a network said enough of this nonsense and decided to not show the anthem. We want to see football, not who is/isn’t protesting.

  • ShowDL

    Good move. Stick to football.

  • MrBeepo

    Best news I’ve read all day. Now the employees/performers will have to find another way to act out while on the job.

  • I would comment, but why bother. The people who agree with me already agree, and the people who don’t will be jerks about it.

    • Another Hurricanes Goal

      Your response is why the terrorist won.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    With the numbers continuing to trend down, FOX is desperate to max out ad revenue – they clearly feel the 2-3 spots they could air during the anthem mean more than covering this story in a thorough manner.

  • Morrill Turpitude

    It’s a good move. This crap only happens because the cameras are on. Turn the cameras off and they go away.

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  • MrBull

    Clearly Fox is aware the fallout by the fan wàtching will come this Sunday so let’s give them a reason to keep watching

  • Carter_Burger67

    The powers that be at Fox see this for what it is, an it’s not good for football or the NFL. They elect to NOT fan the flames or buy into the hysteria. Good for them.

  • inku palios

    Honestly, I expect this to die down, unless President Trump tweets the N word, & all hell will break loose.

  • I had never seen so little patriotism on Fox.

  • Slaughter

    It will be interesting to see if Fox’s pregame hosts talk about the protests. If they do, then it will seem like censorship when Fox doesn’t show what happens during the anthem.

  • Skip Bradley

    Something like this would be BIG news, and I’ll be damned if I can find this ‘news’ on any other site.

    Fake news?

    Click bait??


    I’m tired of these protests being shoved down my throat in the one place I enjoy to be entertained 5 months out of the year. I understand about how everyone feels and will support any effort that is done in the right way.Let the protestors get a grassroots movement like everyone else that wants to change things. When someone tells me not to come to games if I don’t like it, that’s not the right attitude.

    Bottomline is FOX doesn’t intend to lose anymore $$$$$, and if I’m correct, you’ll see other networks follow.

  • Sharida Cox

    their war isn’t with the president. he just reflects the normal revulsion of using our anthem for such crap.

  • Tom Burkman

    Protest against the flag and when the game is over , hop in your Escalade and off to the nite clubs. Total BS.

  • Bruce McDonald

    If the anthem protests remain the huge story and over shadows football then ratings will continue to fall off the cliff until the blunt economic reality will force these meat heads back to their entertainment duties. Thanks

  • Kevin Sanders

    Where do blacks do well?

    Which nation?

    Which continent?

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