ESPN has announced that they will be televising professional athletes protesting by the singing of the black national anthem, a song known as Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, instead of the Star-Spangled Banner, according to Front Office Sports. In addition, the network will also "show social justice movements, actions, as they happen."
“Our policy is to cover the anthem when it’s newsworthy. That’s not going to change,” ESPN Executive Vice President of Event and Studio Production Stephanie Druley said. “We are going to continue as we’ve done with the NBA and the WNBA. We will cover social justice movements, actions, as they happen. We’re not going to shy away from that.”
Druley stressed that ESPN does not hold the view that social justice protests are political.
“Look, we’re going to keep our main rule, which is when it intersects with sports, we’re going to cover it, and look, we don’t see the social justice movement as being political. It’s social justice,” said Druley. She continued by saying that she was not sure how many games the black national anthem will be featured on the network.
“I don’t know. We will make a judgment call every week. But I can tell you that Week 1, that first game, you will see the anthem—and you will see ‘Lift Every Voice.’”
Front Office Sports reported: "The normally crowded NFL sidelines will look very different to millions of TV viewers this season. The league is strictly limiting the number of people with field access to avoid infecting coaches and players."
"TV sideline reporters like ESPN’s Salters and CBS’ Wolfson will have to do their jobs from the stands. There will not be military/police honor guards on the field or on-field performances of the national anthem. Ditto for cheerleaders, marching bands and team mascots."
"The NFL’s 1,700 players, meanwhile, will be encouraged to salute victims of police brutality by placing decals with their names on their helmets. The league will also stencil social justice statements such as “End Racism” and “It Takes All Of Us” in end zones this season. The league will play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before each game during opening weekend."
The Monday Night Football game ESPN will feature is schedule for September 14, when the New York Giants will face the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Tennessee Titans will take on the Denver Broncos.
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