INJOOver the last few weeks, the NFL's treatment of the national anthem has been paramount in the news cycle.

The protests reached a fever pitch when President Donald Trump declared that players who do not stand for the anthem deserve to be fired. Various players and entire teams have decided to sit out the national anthem and to protest in their own ways in response. In the subsequent weeks, more and more teams have created ironclad policies around standing for the anthem. Owners of teams like the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys have said that players who “disrespect” the flag will not play on the team.

It seems that the NFL and its broadcast partners have also made a decision on the national anthem. It came as a shock to many watching “Monday Night Football” tonight between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings that ESPN flatly decided not to broadcast the singing of the national anthem at all.

Watching the broadcast of the pregame, ESPN cut to a commercial break during the time when the anthem would be sung and returned as the kickoff was beginning. Fans of both teams wondered in disbelief if their eyes had deceived them and if this was the final result of the anthem protest: that the national anthem would simply not be shown any longer on television.

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