Fans at the New England Patriots’ win over the visiting Houston Texans could be heard booing players who knelt during the anthem
NFL fans could be heard booing as hundreds of players protested during the national anthem over Week 3, but the spectators’ presence was conspicuously absent from television coverage.
A ‘behind-the-scenes TV staffer’ at one NFL stadium told Sporting News that camera operators were told not to shoot the jeering crowd.
An NFL spokesman described the accusation as ‘fake news,’ adding that the league ‘did not have conversations with the networks about how to cover the anthems.’
CBS spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle also denied the accusation to SN: ‘The anthem was covered by each crew in their own way, with many choosing to stay with what was happening on the field. There was no directive given to not show the fans.’
Anthems are not typically broadcast during the regular season. But, after President Donald Trump condemned the protests in speeches and on Twitter for the better part of the weekend, networks opted to broadcast ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ throughout Week 3.
Many Patriots players took a knee prior to Sunday’s game against the visiting Texans
NFL players began protesting police violence against minorities during in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem before a preseason game. And although Kaepernick remains a free agent, the protests continued over the first two weeks of the 2017 season before engulfing the entire league in Week 3 in response to Trump’s criticism.
Boos could certainly be heard on particular broadcasts, but clear shots of disgruntled fans were seemingly non-existent.
Ratings for Week 3 seemed to peak at the start of the broadcasts, when the anthem is played, but the overall trend for NFL ratings is a bit muddled.
The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones took a knee while locking arms on Monday night
Trump claimed the boos directed at the Dallas Cowboys were the ‘loudest I have ever heard.’ ESPN earned a 9.3 overnight rating, which is a 63 percent jump from Week 3 last year
ESPN’s Monday Night Football netted a 9.3 overnight rating, which was a 63% increase from Week 3 of the previous season. However, the Dallas Cowboys were playing, and even though the entire team and owner Jerry Jones kneeled and locked arms during the anthem, ‘America’s Team’ has always been reliable when it comes to television ratings.
Also, Sunday Night Football’s ratings took a slight dip, netting an 11.6 rating which was NBC’s lowest of the season, according to Deadline.com.
That broadcast featured both teams sitting, kneeling, and linking arms during the anthem, but fans were relegated to the background.
The same could be said for Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Giants-Eagles game.
However, CBS’s Week 3 matchup between the Jets and Dolphins did show police officers saluting the flag as raucous boos were being directed to the kneeling players on the field.
In many cases, boos could be heard during NFL broadcasts even if the fans were not seen
Many of Washington’s players knelt before Sunday’s win over Oakland. NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast was its lowest-rated of the season
Green Bay Packers players stood with their arms locked before Sunday’s win over Cincinnati