The revolution will be televised, that’s the word coming down from NBC executives who say they will televise any player who chooses to protest the anthem during the Super Bowl.
“When you are covering a live event, you are covering what’s happening,” NBC Sports EP Fred Gaudelli told reporters at the Television Critics Association on Tuesday.
“If there are players who choose to kneel, they will be shown live,” he said.
Gaudelli explained that, if a player chose to protest during the anthem, NBC broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth would likely give the players’s name, some background on the a protests, and then “get on with the game.”
According to Fox News, “The anthem will be aired live and is scheduled to be performed by Pink. Potential protesters will have an opportunity to make a statement in front of a massive audience, as 112.2 million people watched Super Bowl LI last season – the fifth most-watched program in television history.”
The NFL’s anthem protest movement began in the preseason of 2016, when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat, then knelt, in protest against police brutality. Kaepernick continued his protest throughout the 2016 season, but has not suited-up for another NFL team since walking away from his contract in San Francisco at the end of that year.
Despite Kaepernick’s absence in 2017, the protest movement he began continued without him. Increasing in intensity during Week 3 of the season, after President Trump blasted the protesting players at a political rally. During that weekend over 200 players, executives, and coaches, protested the anthem and President Trump.
However, after that weekend, the number of protesting players dwindled to the point where only 19 players protested in the final week of the season.