During an event in Ohio last Friday, President Donald Trump ripped into networks for choosing not to broadcast the national anthem during football season.
The president has constantly criticized the NFL for their handling of the kneeling controversy and Friday was no exception. However, during his speech the president focused on the networks for their decision.
“We’re standing proudly for our great, beautiful, wonderful national anthem,” said Trump. “Which CBS and ESPN have decided not to broadcast, so they don’t have any controversy. Can you imagine that?”
ESPN president, Jimmy Pitaro, spoke out about the reports, claiming that the policy is not changing because the network does not broadcast the anthem except on special occasions.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any change this year,” Pitaro said. “Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem.”
The president believes that the decision is hurting networks rather than helping them.
“What are they doing?” Trump asked. “Do they not have a clue? It’s hurt them badly too. It’s continuing. They think they’re doing something smart by not broadcasting the national anthem.”
He ended by saying “That’s CBS and ESPN folks. Enjoy your television.”
Other networks, such as NBC, have not yet officially decided whether they will air the anthem and it is uncertain if Trump’s comments will change their strategy.
“On occasion, we’ve covered the national anthem, but our plans aren’t finalized yet as we have an earlier kickoff time in 2018,” said a spokesperson to USA Today.