ESPN's president also told reporters that the entity is not a political organization.
ESPN will not air the playing of the national anthem during its Monday Night Football broadcasts this season, network president Jimmy Pataro said Friday.
"We generally have not not broadcasted the anthem and I don't think that will change this year," Pataro said at ESPN Football media day, according to Axios' Sara Fischer. "Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem ... again that could change. It's unpredictable what could happen in the world but as of now, we're not."
1/2 ESPN will not be broadcasting the National Anthem on Monday nights this year.— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018
"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 ...
2/2 " ... 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 NF. They have not asked but as courtesy and good partners we have let them know what our plans are." - ESPN Pres. Jimmy Pitaro— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) August 17, 2018
Pitaro also said that ESPN is not a political organization and added that it is not the entity's place to cover politics "purely" but they will continue to address the intersection of sports and politics.
The network president added that the organization will cover events if they think they are "newsworthy." This includes examples of a player taking a knee or the Eagles being disinvited from the White House.
Regarding the coverage of controversy surrouding players protests and the anthem, Stephanie Druley, ESPN senior vice president of event and studio production, said, "We've seen the data from our fans that they like the game and that's what they want. So that's where we will keep our focus."
In recent seasons, players have protested police brutality and social injustices during the playing of the national anthem.
In May, NFL owners unanimously approved a new anthem policy requiring players to stand if they are on the field during the anthem, with an option to stay in the locker room. The NFLPA filed a grievance contending the policy, and since then, the NFL and the NFLPA have reached a standstill agreement on identifying a solution to player protests.
ESPN did not show the playing of the national anthem before games last season either.