Las Vegas Massacre Prompts ESPN to Reverse Course On National Anthem: Will Air it During Monday Night Football

Because of the horrific news of the shooting at a Las Vegas concert, ESPN has reversed course and will broadcast the national anthem that precedes Monday night’s game between the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs as well as the moment of silence that will take place in Arrowhead Stadium.

It’s a reversal of course, one that reflects the network’s decision to remain nimble as far as showing the anthem during this season of “Monday Night Football.” It had intended to return to its new, normal practice of not showing the anthem, but then at least 59 people were shot to death and more than 500 injured in the shooting in Las Vegas.

Before the season began, the network decided not to show the anthem, with two exceptions. One was the “Monday Night Football” season opener that fell on the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and featured a special tribute at the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium. And then last week, after protests popped up across the country in response to tweets and comments by President Trump, ESPN pivoted to carrying the anthem preceding the Dallas Cowboys’ game against the Arizona Cardinals. Cameras captured Cowboys owner Jerry Jones taking a knee along with coaches and players, then rising and standing with arms linked for the anthem.

Although “MNF” has shown the anthem in previous seasons, the production team decided to make a change this year, even as the idea of protests were looming, to use the time to highlight matchups and story lines, a network source said. The network did not carry the anthem preceding the Sept. 18 game between the Detroit Lions and New York Giants.

ESPN had promised to “do our due diligence” as far as protests and coverage were concerned, producer Jay Rothman said last month, and clearly the change of heart Monday is part of that.

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SOURCE: Cindy Boren 
The Washington Post