Entertainment

Anti-Anthem Anger: Trump Slams ESPN for Its Broadcasting Decision

President made his position quite clear at a West Virginia rally — and conservatives are praising him on Twitter

Image Credit: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

ESPN’s management recently announced its decision to refrain from showing the singing or playing of the national anthem before its NFL “Monday Night Football” broadcasts — and President Donald Trump made his thoughts very clear about that on Tuesday night.

Speaking at a campaign-style rally in Charleston, West Virginia, the president tackled the issue less than 10 minutes into his speech.

“You’re proud of our country, you’re proud of our history, and unlike the NFL, you always honor and cherish our great American flag,” he told the crowd of West Virginians. “It was just announced by ESPN that rather than defending our anthem, our beautiful, beautiful national anthem and defending our flag, they’ve decided that they just won’t broadcast when they play the national anthem. We don’t like that.”

The statement from the president drew cheers from the audience.

Others voiced their support for his position on Twitter.

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Although the network has not always aired the national anthem in the past, ESPN company president Jimmy Pitaro announced the company’s plans for this fall last Friday.

“We generally have not broadcasted the anthem and I don’t think there’s going to be any change this year. Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem,” he told reporters.

“Again, there could be changes,” he added. “It’s somewhat unpredictable what’s going to happen in the world, but as of now our plan now is to not broadcast the anthem. We have communicated that back to the NFL. They have not asked, but we proactively, just as a courtesy and as good partners, let them know what our plans are.”

At a time that patriotic football fans want players to respect their country, their flag, the military and others, skipping the anthem altogether is a foolish move on ESPN’s part.

There’s no need to let a sour few ruin what could be a unifying pregame experience for the rest of the country.

In order to avoid controversy, the sports network could ignore the kneelers and protesters altogether — and focus on some of the league’s more patriotic players who refuse to kneel or protest during the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

There’s no need to let a sour few ruin what could be a unifying pregame experience for the rest of the country.

To see more on national anthem protests in the NFL, check out the video below:

Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.

Tom Joyce
meet the author

Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.

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