While it’s uncertain if Carolina Panthers players plan protests during the national anthem during Sunday’s game at New England, there is a chance that television viewers won’t get to see them as they happen.
Eric Shanks, the president of Fox Sports, told Newsday’s Neil Best earlier this week that his crews plan to return to “standard procedure” this week for NFL broadcasts. That doesn’t include showing the national anthem live for most games because the network normally airs commercials then.
Shanks left the option open, however.
“So I think we’re going to pay attention to events,” Shanks told Newsday. “... A lot of time is happening between now and then.”
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Fox Sports, which will broadcast Sunday’s Panthers-Patriots game, showed the protests last week amid a widespread response to President Donald Trump’s criticisms of NFL players who have knelt during the anthem.
The players say they are protesting racial injustice, particularly the treatment of blacks by police. Trump called the players who knelt, such as Colin Kaepernick, “sons of bitches” and said they should be fired.
In Charlotte, Carolina veteran Julius Peppers stayed in the locker room before Sunday’s loss to New Orleans to protest Trump’s remarks. More than a dozen New Orleans Saints players remained seated during the anthem. Peppers said he didn’t want to kneel because he wanted to make it clear he was not showing disrespect for the U.S. flag.
“I felt like he attacked our brothers, my brothers in the league,” Peppers, who didn’t discuss his plans with other Panthers players before the game, said. “So I felt like it was appropriate to stand up with them and stay in the locker room.”
Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers explains why he did not take the field with his teammates for Sunday's national anthem
This week could be different. Carolina’s team leaders met Tuesday at the home of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, where they received assurances that he would support players who chose to protest.
While Captain Munnerlyn said he felt that the time for an effective protest may have passed, quarterback Cam Newton and coach Ron Rivera both indicated that they felt that NFL players still could make a difference by speaking out against racial injustice.
“Let’s start talking about what this really means and how we can do things as an organization, as a community and start bringing closure to this,” Rivera said. “And start showing we are truly working in a direction to correct those things that everybody’s protesting against.”
Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton discusses freedom of speech, how protests are not meant to offend the US flag, and the possibility of other team members participating in a future protest.
This week, New England wide receiver Danny Amendola told reporters his teammates plan to resume standing during the anthem. Patriots captain Devin McCourty said Thursday that whatever the team does during the anthem will be done together. Last week, at least 16 Patriots knelt during the playing of the national anthem.
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