August 17, 2018
Amid the controversy over protesting during the national anthem, ESPN announced that the network will not air the national anthem for Monday Night Football. Jimmy Pitaro made the announcement Friday morning during a press event.
Pitaro mentions there may be some exceptions to this rule, but, at least for the preseason, they are staying true to their decision. He cited protesting during the anthem and the political debate that its spurred as causation.
Protesting during the national anthem has continued in the preseason. This includes Eagles defensive end Micheal Bennet, who walked out during the anthem to sit on the bench for the Pittsburgh Steelers game on Aug. 9, while captain Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists.
In May, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the NFL would allow players to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, but they would not be allowed to kneel or sit if they are on the field. This new policy, however, has been challenged by the players' union, NFL Players Association, stating that the policy infringes on the players' rights. This challenge has caused the NFL to put the policy on hold, and they will not be enforcing it.