The NFL shield. Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; A NFL shield logo at midield of Super Bowl 57 at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A ton of prominent media companies have paused their advertising on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). That’s come in the wake of X owner Elon Musk’s retweeting and positive replies to antisemitic comments, as well as a Media Matters for America report on corporate ads appearing next to accounts with racist posts.

Those pauses have included three of the National Football League’s broadcasters (NBC/Comcast, CBS/Paramount Global, and ESPN/ABC/Disney). They’ve also included other prominent media companies, such as Apple and WBD. But the NFL has not yet backed off X itself, despite reports putting its content next to some of these controversial posts. And they defended that decision Tuesday by saying they’d “expressed concerns,” as Oliver Darcy wrote at CNN:

“The NFL unequivocally denounces all forms of hate speech and discrimination,” Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s chief spokesperson, said in a statement.

“We’re aware of instances of hate speech on X and have expressed our concerns directly to X both in the past and again in the last few days,” McCarthy added.

As Darcy noted, that came after CNN found “advertisements for NFL teams were running on the account of a notorious white supremacist publication.” But earlier Tuesday, another key NFL executive, chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp, told CNBC they wouldn’t pause their advertising:

“I think X is in a very difficult business because of the content moderation that they have to deal with,” Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s media and business chief, told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. “We continue to work with them because our fans are clearly there.”

We’ll see if the NFL continues with that approach in the days ahead, or if they join this wider pause from other media companies.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.