NBC Executive Plans On Promoting ALL Players Protesting National Anthem ‘It’s a Pretty Big Story’

NBC Executive Plans On Promoting ALL Players Protesting National Anthem ‘It’s a Pretty Big Story’

NFL ratings have plummeted this season. There are several different reasons as to why, but a big one is the national anthem protests, which are now in their second year. Originally started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, players kneel during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality against black Americans. But the longer the protests went on, the more Americans tuned out — and it seems the NFL hasn’t learned their lesson yet.

Some games have dealt with the issue of the controversial protests by refusing to show the national anthem on television. But that evidently won’t be the case for Super Bowl LII, according to NBC Sports Executive Producer Fred Gaudelli.

Gaudelli appeared with sportscaster Al Michaels during a panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour this week, where they discussed the Super Bowl. And when asked if they would cover the protests if it happens during the Super Bowl, Gaudelli said yes.

“The Super Bowl is a live event, just like ‘Sunday Night Football.’ When you’re covering alive event, you’re covering whats happening,” Gaudelli said. “So if there are players that choose to kneel, they will be shown live. I would say, probably since Thanksgiving, a lot of that has kind of disappated and died down. It’s certainly possible it could happen again.”

Gaudelli also addressed the rumors that the protests have negatively impacted attendance. “I think there’s a lot of reasons for it,” he said. “Obviously, you can watch the game anywhere on any device there is. If your team isn’t having the season you’d hoped they have, if the weather is bad… I think there are a lot of factors and to pin it on one thing I think is erroneous.”

“There are a lot of empty seats, especially in the beginning of the second half,” Michaels agreed. “Most of the seats in most of the stadiums have been sold, but you go to Atlanta, where they just opened up a new stadium. They have behind the lower bowl a 100 yard almost mall. You’ve got stores, you’ve got bars, you’ve got restaurants, you’ve got games for the kids.”

Donald Trump has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the national anthem protests, calling for players who kneel to be fired by their respective teams. He also criticized the lack of action from NFL executives. “Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!” he tweeted last October.

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