NBC Will Show Anthem Protests During Super Bowl

By on January 11, 2018

Player protests during the national anthem have been one of the largest stories of the year, both in sports and politics. Given the gravity of the topic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that NBC has decided that it won’t shy away from it during its coverage of Super Bowl LII, which will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

More than 100 million people will watch the event, and NBC executives say that they aren’t going to shy away from the controversy.

“When you are covering a live event, you are covering what’s happening,” NBC Sports Executive Producer Fred Gaudelli said on Tuesday at a Television Critics Association conference in Pasadena, Calif. “If there are players who choose to kneel, they will be shown live,” he added.

Gaudelli said the broadcast team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will also identify each player who kneels while giving the history behind the protests “and then get on with the game.”

President Trump has made the anthem protests one of the major talking points of his administration. He has often criticized the players who kneel to protest police brutality and racial injustice, while also blaming the protests for a decrease in the NFL’s ratings.

The Super Bowl will represent the largest platform for protesting players to bring awareness to their message, so it stands to reason that at least some of them might actually kneel for the anthem. That will be sure to rile up the conservatives who are often so critical of such displays, discounting the actual message they are trying to send.

Most importantly, the network carrying the game has shown that they are willing to actually cover the protests. If this had been last year’s Super Bowl, which was on the FOX network, it’s quite likely the protests wouldn’t have seen the same kind of attention.