President Donald Trump urged supporters to boycott ESPN following its public decision not to show the performance of the national anthem before “Monday Night Football.”
The president made this request in an email to his supporters Wednesday and accompanied it with a petition.
“Just after we heard a sitting governor trash America, ESPN has now decided it will no longer play the National Anthem before Monday Night Football,” the email read. “If ‘America’ is too offensive for anyone in our country, then what are they doing in America?
“I’m calling on you to join me in denouncing this SPINELESS surrender to the politically correct liberal mob.”
"TELL ESPN: PLAY AMERICA’S ANTHEM!" pic.twitter.com/CnANRsEHVm
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) August 22, 2018
The president’s call for a boycott came days after ESPN’s president, Jimmy Pitaro, told reporters at the network’s annual football media day that they wouldn’t be showing the anthem on a regular basis according to Fox News.
“We generally have not broadcasted the anthem and I don’t think that will change this year. Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem,” Pitaro said.
“Again that could change. It’s unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we’re not.
“We have communicated that back to the NFL,” he added. “They have not asked but as a courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are.”
Pitaro touched on the company’s policy on political statements again when asked by another reporter what he believed the most inaccurate perception of ESPN is.
“That we’re a political organization, because we are not,” Pitaro answered. “We are a sports media company. We are always going to cover the intersection between sports and politics.
“We are the place of record for sports when something happens, when the Eagles are disinvited to the White House, we are going to cover that.
“When someone takes a knee and we think it’s newsworthy we’re going to cover it,” Pitaro explained. “But we have to be the place of record.”
Fox News reported that ESPN and other networks have historically aired commercials over the anthem, the exception to that practice being during some live events and times of national tragedy.
ESPN’s senior vice president of events and studio production, Stephanie Druley, told Fox News reporters that their network showed the national anthem three times last year: once following Hurricane Harvey, once following the Las Vegas massacre and after the president’s comments on the national anthem protest.
Interested readers can view or sign Trump’s petition here.
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