ESPN won’t show national anthem before 49ers game


One of the most-discussed moments of Week One of the NFL season will be the national anthem before the Monday night 49ers-Rams game, when Colin Kaepernick is expected to continue his protest and remain seated while other players are standing. But that moment won’t be televised.

ESPN told Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated that it normally does not show the national anthem for the late game of the Week One Monday Night Football doubleheader and won’t show it this year either.

That decision is a mistake. Just because the national anthem isn’t ordinarily shown doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown when there are extenuating circumstances, and in this case there are certainly extenuating circumstances. Telling the story of that game will include showing Kaepernick, showing the other players, and covering any reaction Kaepernick gets from the fans, positive or negative.

Kaepernick’s stance has thrust the national anthem into the national news. ESPN should allow viewers to see that news being made.

UPDATE 1:58 p.m. ET: Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman said the following on an ESPN media call: “The timing is such that, first of all, Kaepernick has to make the 53-man team, and that’s two weeks away, so we don’t know that yet. But the timing is such that because it’s a doubleheader game, we do not cover the Anthem. We will not cover the Anthem live in the second game regardless. However, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t record it and report it. And I think our job, especially with the whole Kaepernick deal, it’s our job to document and report the game. And those who are working on the game, if Kaepernick is on the team and chooses to sit again, I’m sure they’ll get perspective from Kaepernick, they’ll get perspective from Chip Kelly, they’ll get perspective from others and report. So that’s how we’ll handle that in San Francisco.”

96 responses to “ESPN won’t show national anthem before 49ers game

  1. Then I won’t be watching the 49ers, or any other games on ESPN as long as they choose not to play the National Anthem.

    Thank you.

  2. If this has been ESPN’s policy/procedure there is no reason they shouldn’t follow it for this game. To depart from the policy would be a mistake and would focus attention where it doesn’t belong in this arena. This is supposed to be the NFL and the focus should be on football. Those who want to watch a political debate should change to another channel.

  3. ESPN is right on this. Showing it, and in turn Kaepernick, will distract majorly from the game, and it also gives Kaepernick more air time for his message, which is not a good thing. I know it’s become very fashionable to rip ESPN at every turn around here, but they are right in this instance

  4. What a ridiculous argument. ESPN is doing business as normal and should NOT alter their plans and show Kaepernick disrespecting the flag. Kaep is a multi-millionaire that can afford his own platform for dissent. ESPN gains nothing by showing it. Seriously, there is no more ad revenue generated by showing it. And it’s a bad look for the NFL to have it’s stars disrespecting the flag. Imagine the vitriol this story is going to take on during the NFL’s Salute to Service month.

  5. I’ll disagree here.

    Kaepernick simply is looking to showcase his own lame position…and compelling ESPN to show him, as well as those in opposition, only offers him a platform he does not deserve.

    In fact, when the Niners are playing on television, I will make sure I watch something else entirely. The NFL ( and Roger Goodell ) only recognize something when it affects the owner’s pocketbooks…so I will do all I can to avoid the San Francisco 49ers in any televised context…and encourage others to do the same.

  6. I know my political beliefs differ from the writers here but you have to admit ESPN is totally wrong for not televising The National Anthem. What the heck is happening to our nation???

  7. But the ESPN announcers will talk about it, and they will show a replay of him sitting there. This makes it even more dramatic.

  8. Unfortunately… the NFL and ESPN will air the other seven patriotic non-National Anthem songs that fans will be forced to quietly endure as proof of their allegiance to the United States of America.

  9. if you want politics, turn on CNN, Fox news, or MSNBC. Last thing I want to see during a football game is someones political views. If it is ESPN standard practice, they shouldn’t change it.

  10. When has ESPN ever broadcast the Natinal Anthum of a pre-season football game?

    With the exception of opening day and post season games, It standard for the broadcast to go to commercial during the Natinal Anthum.

  11. Good for ESPN!
    The less this lingers, the better.
    God bless The USA.
    We do need to screen Police Officers to weed out the idiots who buckle under the inherent pressure of the job.
    No question.
    People make mistakes sometimes costly ones.
    Did CK throw the pick to Sherman in the end zone because he hate his team? No, he made a mistake and to conflate his errors to “teamism” with the motivation for the cops mistakes/errors to racism is itself racist, albeit reverse racism.
    People of every ethnicity harbor hate towards others.
    This issues doesn’t boil down to racism, it boils down to gross incompetence by individuals who should have flunked out of the program well before being sworn in.

  12. Kaepernick is in a slow death spiral, professionally and personally. Exactly the wrong person to lead any “movement.”

  13. It’s not a mistake and it’s hardly an extenuating circumstance. Why should ESPN change what they do because some clown like Kaepernick wants attention?

  14. “Kaepernick’s stance has thrust the national anthem into the national news. ESPN should allow viewers to see that news being made.”

    I didn’t realize that the National Anthem was somehow controversial now. Kabernick’s stance hasn’t thrust the national anthem into the national news, it has thrust Kaepernick into the national news.

  15. Cowards. Their viewership has steadily went down, and they’ve lost most of their talent ever since they stopped being a sports network and tried to impose their agenda on the viewers.

  16. Been a Kaep fan since he broke out in the league. Defended him every step of the way. There’s a time and a place to make a stand. I tune in to watch the Niners. I don’t tune in to watch a single player. If you are player on my favorite team, I’ll root for you, but that’s about as far as that goes. If you want to take a stand, take the money you’ve earned or made and donate it to those neighborhoods you feel are oppressed. Go do some charity work with all those who you think are oppressed. Go put yourself into action. Enough talking about it, go put your words into action. Conduct yourself in a civilized manner that helps all those you feel are oppressed. That’s taking a stand.

  17. however they WILL most likely give him their so-called “courage” award at the ESPY’s next year.

  18. bstngrdn says:
    Aug 30, 2016 12:21 PM

    If this has been ESPN’s policy/procedure there is no reason they shouldn’t follow it for this game. To depart from the policy would be a mistake and would focus attention where it doesn’t belong in this arena. This is supposed to be the NFL and the focus should be on football. Those who want to watch a political debate should change to another channel.


    Very true, and most sports broadcasts don’t show fans who run on to the field either. To show it encourages the spectacle even more so if its against your policy.

  19. Is what happens on the sideline before the game begins part of any copyright laws that would prohibit PFT/NBC to film what they desire to see during the national anthem? If not and it is that important, film it and replay it or run it live on the net if you can.

  20. The ultra liberal ESPN doesn’t want to offend the new Syrian refugees or foreign exchange students who may be watching the game by playing the national anthem.

  21. Disagree completely.

    Making an exception to show the anthem because of this would only perpetuate this fool’s distorted and misguided attention grab. In this case, ESPN is right.

  22. I will watch the NFL, ignoring how they handled the Ray Rice situation. Yet, when a player sits during the national anthem to make a point on something he believes in … well that’s too much for this delicate flower!!! I won’t watch!

  23. Could not DISagree with you more. Why make a special exception to highlight one man’s personal agenda? That’s not ESPN’s responsibility. It’s not even like they are doing something out of the ordinary to avoid the controversy….to the contrary, they are maintaining the status quo and thereby not highlighting one person’s crusade in the context of the ultimate team sport. I sincerely empathize with the cause, but completely disagree with the method. wrong time, wrong place. Time to move on to football…

  24. ESPN is actually in that rock/hard place. They are pointing out (way in advance) of something they don’t do so they won’t be accused of not doing it.

    It is going to be moot. He will be inactive. SF would be dumb to activate KP because of the injury clause for 2017’s salary.

  25. Things you can do in the NFL and not lose fans:
    – rape
    – homicide
    – assault
    – domestic violence
    – dog fighting
    – DUI
    – drugs

    Things you can’t do:
    – sit down

  26. Oh no, what ever will I do without seeing any thrilling live shots of Kaepernick sitting down!?!? I for one am glad that they have decided not to go out of their way to waste time on it. I will be tuned in to watch football. I would find another channel if I wanted to watch drama.

  27. Play Oh CANADA ,,that’s where he can go live if he don’t like it here !

  28. ESPN doesn’t plan the showing the national anthem of the second game because often times the first game rolls over on time a little. When they cut over to the second game it usually is about to start or has started already.

  29. The 49ers aren’t going to risk Kaepernick hurting himself. He’s not going to be their backup QB. If they decide to roster him for salary cap reasons he still won’t be active, dressed, or anywhere near the line of active team members standing up for the anthem.

  30. Want to stop this nonsense? Publish a list of the SPONSORS of any game involving Kaepernick and let the SPONSORS respond. The NFL will go nuts and ALL 49er games (or whoever employs Kaepernick) will be blacked out – at least nationally. Such a campaign will allow those SPONSORS that support Kaepernick’s views gamble their returns and the outrage of their shareholders.

  31. C’mon man! How are you people all bent out of shape that ESPN doesn’t show the national anthem before every game? It’s the 2nd game in a double header. Do you really expect them to show the pregame activities for both games?? Do you want to miss the end of game one so you can watch the national anthem for a 2nd time that evening??

  32. It really doesn’t bother me NFL Sunday ticket never shows the Anthem

    When I fontina game is stand, take my hat off in respect during it. Then listen to the person singing it completely destroy it.

    Besides , if I am at home watching a game and they do show the anthem, I don’t stand up for it in my living room. No disrespect at all. I don’t ever remember anyone ever standing up for it while watching it on TV or at a Sports Bar

  33. ESPN won’t show the National Anthem being played has nothing to do with Kap taking a seat. It has to do with inserting a commercial to make even more money.

  34. Where’s all the right wing outrage of ESPN disrespecting the troops? Isn’t not broadcasting the anthem the same as sitting during it? Shouldn’t ESPN honor the troops who gave ESPN their freedom to broadcast football and ability to make BILLIONS off of it? Be consistent righties. Nobody likes a hypocrite. You all should be boycotting the NFL and ESPN for this decision. That’s unless you value your football more than the troops.

  35. Why would they break from their normal routine just to show this? Good for ESPN.

    Just like if it was their normal routine TO show the national anthem, they should NOT show it just because of Kaepernick.

  36. stillers213 says:
    Aug 30, 2016 1:16 PM
    It’s a shame this guy is getting rapidly radicalized by his new girlfriend.

    Good to see that someone else around here is doing his homework.

  37. If I simply tuned in without reading this to watch the game I wouldn’t have noticed whether they included the anthem as part of the broadcast. I have no idea how often I catch the anthem or not when I watch a football game.

    Good chance he’s not even on the team, so he’ll be sitting at home during the anthem they aren’t broadcasting. Either way, why make a big fuss over a backup quarterback at all? Granted, 9ers vs Rams is a yawnfest of a Monday night game, but if I don’t have anything going on that night and choose to tune in it will be for football not commentary on whether or not somebody stands for a song.

  38. “That decision is a mistake.”

    No, it’s not. It isn’t even a decision – it’s how they do things. Their standard practice for the late game has been not to show the national anthem – generally because the first game isn’t over yet. Should they go away from the end of the first game to catch the anthem? Really?

    Why should they change? To document one marginal football player’s protest? To give him a bigger stage for that protest?

    That’s not the job of ESPN. Kap can sit as is his right, but there is no reason for ESPN to change their system to accommodate his protest.

  39. joey49er says:
    Aug 30, 2016 12:34 PM

    Man when did ESPN become a liberal station????
    Looks like I will be watching nfl network!!!loosers!!!

    Years ago.

  40. beerbudsnbevo says:
    Aug 30, 2016 12:16 PM
    Then I won’t be watching the 49ers, or any other games on ESPN as long as they choose not to play the National Anthem.
    So you don’t watch any football games that don’t show the National Anthem first? Very few networks televise the National Anthem. Pleeeeeeeze………..

  41. Funny I posted somewhere that I bet whomever is telecasting the niners game does not show him sitting and for sure the people screaming at him from the stands.

  42. Oh I also posted I bet he starts the first half and plays that and more. My gutt and I may be deader than dead wrong, Chip and the GM are praying he can pass and run like old days because they want him to start. I don’t see the GM getting rid of him anytime soon. I still bet gabby is gone before the dink

  43. Colin, wether he intended or not, has pitted black against black and white versus black. If people and players stand for the national anthem, they are with the whites. If people and players sit, they are with the blacks. There is going to be violence. If fans will get into fist fights over a ball or comments made during a game, what do you think is going to happen during the anthem? The media has to see this coming. I can hear it now, a public announcement being made to keep calm and peaceful over the national anthem. Now the focus of the game. the one part of the game when most people go to the rest roomor get something to eat, will now watch the anthem like, Must See TV.

  44. Man when did ESPN become a liberal station????
    Looks like I will be watching nfl network!!!loosers!!!


  45. Then I Won’t Be Watching That Toolbag Of A Network Known As BSPN I Mean How The Hell Do You Not Show The National Anthem During Televised Season Opening Football Game Especially The Fighting Men & Women Who Put Their Lives On The Line To Protect Our Way Of Life And Freedom Kaepernick Is The Biggest Tool Outside Of That Other Useless Quarterback Johnny Manziel The National Anthem Should Be Shown Wether That Fake African American Wannabe Colin Krapernick Likes It Or Not Hey Colin Get Off Your Lazy A** Stand With Your Teammates And Show Some Respect For The Most Beautiful Flag In America Today Or Get The Hell Out Of Our Country You Tool

  46. Could be worse…they could open with some second rate chick singing a bastardized version of a Joan Jett song…

  47. ravenousravenousrhinos says:
    Aug 30, 2016 12:17 PM

    Really? I think most people will be tuning in for football. Not to watch that clown. Football is an escape from politics, stop trying to mix them.


    No it isn’t. You, ESPN, and many others say that, but it simply isn’t true.

    If it was they wouldn’t be honoring the military every other second. People honored for their service in political wars, most have deemed unnecessary, destructive, and actually against our interests. We were politically lied into wars.


    They just shut down people who don’t agree with their viewpoint.

    We see it all the time. Just about every day I see a ton of politics on ESPN.

    ESPN as an organization is a hypocrite.

    As for this situation, the circumstances could demand a change to the standard operating procedure in this case to show his sitting, and the people’s reaction.

    They are choosing not to do this. I’m not sure why. ESPN is very political, but whether they are for it, against it, or just don’t want to deal with it for one way or another is not known at this time.

    Florio is right to ask why they aren’t covering it, as it has become newsworthy. The situation is bigger than Kaepernick. It’s not about him, it’s about the overall situation, and that is newsworthy. The ‘SOP’ being that they don’t show it, is a lame excuse not to take a stand one way or another. They don’t mind taking a stand on just about everything else, so it is weird they are deciding not to air it.

  48. Kaepernick is completely correct in believing that inequities exist in American Society.

    My question to him would be; in precisely which nation do inequities not exist?

    Are we talking about America, or human nature?

    As an American citizen, he is entirely free to express his opinion as he has. As a public figure, he should also understand that the way he has chosen to express his opinion makes him open to legitimate criticism.

    I emphasize ‘legitimate criticism’; not vile attacks.

    If I remember correctly something I read some time ago, the tradition of playing the National Anthem before a sporting event originated in baseball during World War 1, as a spontaneous show of patriotism.

    I don’t know why it persists. I reserve the right to severely criticize any given political administration, but if playing the anthem before a ballgame is interpreted as a show of support for the men and women in service to our nation. I fully support it. Their sacrifices should be honored and respected.

    Kaepernick can agree or disagree with that as he sees fit.

  49. Jackie Robinson didn’t want to stand for the anthem either. Muhammed Ali refused the draft. Why aren’t you crucifying those guys?

    1 – because they’re already dead

    B – they were


  50. Does NBC’s Sunday Night Football show the Anthem? I may be wrong but I think not. But they do have time to show their theme song w/ singer. So many people think this guy is so disrespectful, but sitting during an event that the networks normally ignore says much about how important they think the anthem even is. Surprised there aren’t more voices calling for the network execs to go find another country.

  51. I fail to see how him sitting for the Anthem helps people that are oppressed!! There are two types of people in the world….Talkers and Doers!

    Talkers only want attention and will tell you about their grand plans to right the wrongs. Usually these people do not have actual 1st hand experience of the issues!!

    Doers are out making a difference instead of drawing attention to themselves!!

    Cap sitting on his ass making millions helps no one!! If he really wants to make a difference dont just sit there…take some of that money and go HELP

  52. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if in 50 years Kapernick is thought of as a pioneering icon in America race relations for the stance he’s taking now?

  53. When you have youtube, you really don’t need ESPN for something like this and the NFL would never allow them to focus on it anyway.

  54. Does everyone watching at home stand during the national anthem too? If not, you are a hypocrite!

  55. I won’t be watching the game either. And I’m starting to feel a need for a boycott of the NFL. The NFL last season wouldn’t allow players to even wear a button or any kind of small indication as a memorial to a family member who died. But they allow Kaepernick to offend the majority of Americans by disrespecting the country to make a poorly thought out, one sided narrative that could have been copied and pasted from the BLM playbook?

    The NFL doesn’t know whether they’re coming or going.

  56. Elsewhere around the world the anthem is only played at international competitions, there is really no good reason to play it at all for a national event.

  57. That’s a win for everybody. Football is about football. Pregame stuff like the anthem is boring. Heck, I practice it on my piano almost weekly. I don’t need to watch a football game to hear the song.

  58. ESPN Not showing the national anthem before 49er games is not a problem on 2 levels.

    1) Most of the games will be on Fox
    2) I don’t intend to watch Kap games like I don’t intend to watch Michael Vick games. Both are scum.

  59. “That decision is a mistake. Just because the national anthem isn’t ordinarily shown doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown when there are extenuating circumstances, and in this case there are certainly extenuating circumstances. ”

    There is no extenuating circumstances. This whole thing is a non-story to begin with. He’s making a choice that affects absolutely no one. It will not make a single person change what they do, it will not make a single person change how they feel on something. It’s meaningless. If it makes him feel better, then fine. But he is the only person who cares.

    When they show the national anthem or play “America The Beautiful” or “God Bless America,” it just gives people watching time to go to the bathroom, get something to drink, or anything else that needs to be done. But no one is watching it or cares.

  60. This man has sat during the national anthem for every pre-season game. They catch on by the third game and now the racist suspect network is are responding by not showing the national anthem during the broadcast? They are acting like petulant children, racist children. You could show it and not train the cameras on him as he exercises his right not to participate in idol worship of inanimate object.

    For all the Drew Brees of the world, I wish you were this pissed off and speaking out against the rampant rape that is occurring to women and men in the military.

    I wished I never severed six years of my life in the Army for this racist hypocrite trying to make a negative out of someone trying to raise the country to a higher consciousness.

    These same hypocrites were just praising Ali at his funeral for his principled stand.

  61. ESPN is right here. Leave politics out of football. I’ll never forget NBC giving Bob Costas a two minute gun control speech at halftime of SNF. Pathetic!

  62. My comment was deleted yesterday,probably because I said Kaepernick was a loser. It was a bad choice of words…but when they sing the Star Spangled Banner and the flag is everywhere,I think of soldiers fighting for our freedom. My Dad was a soldier in WWII. His plane was shot down over Normandy,France and he was the only survivor. He spent 3 years in a German prison camp. He went through hell,as did many other soldiers. I felt that Kaepernick disrespected all of the men and women who fought for his freedom to do what he does. He plays a game and makes millions. I see his reasoning,but he can find a different way to make his point. That’s what I was trying to say.

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