Days after ESPN commentator Kevin Blackistone blasted the playing of a “war anthem” before sporting events, and decried the “conflating” of war and a “simple game”, ESPN promoted its broadcast of Monday Night Football in a way that does exactly that.
On an appearance on Wednesday’s Around The Horn, Blackistone said he wasn’t a fan of Northwestern’s Patriotic themed uniforms:
[Y]ou should also be selling the rest of the military symbolism embrace of sports. Whether it’s the singing of a war anthem to open every game. Whether it’s going to get a hotdog and being able to sign up for the Army at the same time. Whether it’s the NFL's embrace of the mythology of the Pat Tillman story. It has been going on in sports since the first National Anthem was played in the World Series back in 1917. And it’s time for people to back away….You are conflating a war anthem with a simple game. When you have military flyovers and the military symbolism that goes on in sports, I think you’ve got a problem.
This morning, ESPN ran the promo cementing the link between Veteran’s Day and its broadcast of tonight’s “simple game”:
Tonight, take a moment. Think about why we unfurl those 100 yard flags. Why those planes fly overhead. And think about the men and women holding those flags. And those in uniform, standing shoulder to shoulder, all over the world. Monday Night Football on Veteran’s Day. Tonight. 8:25. On ESPN.
Per an official release, ESPN has scheduled a variety of live broadcasts and other events to honor Veteran's Day, in addition to the commercial for tonight's football game:
ESPN’s recognition of Veterans Day 2013, its fifth annual “America’s Heroes: A Salute to the Troops Presented by USAA” initiative, will include live, day-long SportsCenter coverage from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the Armed Forces Classic men’s basketball game from South Korea, and live television and radio programming form the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, N.Y.
ESPN failed to respond to multiple attempts to contact them for this story. But, as the promo noted, kickoff for tonight's Veteran tribute laden game is at 8:25 Eastern.
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