Skip to comments.Why didn't TV networks show angry, booing NFL fans Sunday or Monday?
Posted on 09/28/2017 2:55:07 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
With President Donald Trump's attacks against protesting NFL players still reverberating, the league's TV partners decided to air live coverage of the national anthem before Week 3 games. Those partners left out a key element of the coverage: crowd shots of angry fans. Networks typically do not televise the national anthem except for the Super Bowl and other special occasions, but they recognized there would be intense viewer interest this past weekend.
Some fans, if they reacted at all, happily clapped and cheered during protests, but others did not, and they angrily let their home teams know it. The audio mics picked up the boos. Yet the TV networks mostly avoided crowd shots Sunday, so there was never a chance for viewers to see fans jeering players.
A segment of Patriots fans in Foxborough, Mass., for example, nearly booed their own players off the field when some Pats sat or kneeled, with some screaming, "Stand up!"
One behind-the-scenes TV staffer at another stadium told Sporting News that camera operators were ordered to avoid crowd shots in case they showed fans counterprotesting the protests.
NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN pay billions each year to televise live NFL games. The league saw this weekend's unprecedented anthem coverage as a golden opportunity to demonstrate unity among players, coaches and owners -- and opposition to Trump's comments.
If crowd shots were indeed purposely avoided, it was a wise business decision by the networks not to bite the hand that feeds them their most popular programming, but a weak move from a journalistic standpoint. By covering one of the most significant days in NFL history with rose-colored glasses, the networks cheated viewers. We got an incomplete picture of what really happened in stadiums on Sunday and Monday.
Yes, the main television focus should have been on the players, coaches and owners sitting, kneeling or linking arms. But fans hold the ultimate power over the networks and the league, and they were missing in action during coverage.
CBS spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle told Sporting News no one at her network was instructed to ignore the crowd.
"The anthem was covered by each crew in their own way, with many choosing to stay with what was happening on the field," Sabatelle said. "There was no directive given to not show the fans."
And yet, fans were hardly shown, much less interviewed, by NFL networks Sunday.
During ESPN's "Monday Night Football" telecast of the Cowboys-Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz., play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough noted, "Boos can be heard from this sellout crowd" as Jerry Jones and the Cowboys collectively took a knee.
But we never saw any of these frustrated spectators. Were they booing both teams for protesting? Just booing the visiting Cowboys? Both? We got only one quick shot of a fan holding Old Glory while Jordin Sparks sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."
ESPN declined to comment, but a source said there was no edict from Bristol, that it's up to the director of the "MNF" game telecast to make the call from the production truck on what shots to use.
During NBC's telecast of "Sunday Night Football" in Landover, Md., we got plenty close-up views of Raiders and Redskins sitting or linking arms during the anthem. The fans were strictly in the background.
Fans booing Jets and Dolphins players were loud and clear during CBS's telecast from East Rutherford, N.J. But we never saw them. Instead, we got a lot of field-level shots of linked arms players and saluting police officers.
During the singing of the anthem before Giants-Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Fox stuck to up-close, ground-up shots of players, coaches and owners. The only image of fans was one long shot showing them clapping before the network cut to commercial. Again, the story of fans who were not enamored of Sunday's anthem protests were out there if TV networks wanted to show us. The reactions of those fans should have been a bigger story.
In Detroit, a contingent of Lions fans booed their own players when they protested for racial justice, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Perhaps it's unfair to judge networks by strict journalistic standards since they are effectively billion-dollar business partners with the league. But viewers shouldn't have to go to social media or local newspapers to find out what really happens inside stadiums.
We're all big boys and girls. The sky isn't going to fall if networks show the booing of protesting players. Plenty of people are dubious about the league's real aim in all of this. Does it really support the players' rights to protest, or was the emphasis on "Unity" a self-serving PR ploy by a league seeking to deflect attention from the real causes of Kaepernick's protest?
Deadspin's Tom Ley, for example, called BS on "Choose Your Side" Sunday: "The NFL is literally using this for brand marketing."
Next time, the networks showing NFL games should keep it real. Give us the truth, as uncomfortable as that might be, and not the glossy, Hallmark card-version the NFL wants us to see
Too much money involved to show anything bad.
The media favors this. They hate the country, just like some of the players, and don’t want to embarass the America-haters.
Wonder how many cover-ups one must witness before one starts to understand most broadcasting over the airwaves is some form of a probable cover-up???
Probably a lot of camera shots of displeased, furious fans but they guy in the production truck calling the shots chose to ignore them.
Pretty soon he will be “doctoring” crowd shots to show huge throngs of fans such as we saw at Hillary rallies where the same people appeared 3 or more times in crowd shots.
I wouldn’t know.
I refused to tune in, even for a moment.
To hell with em.
I stopped watching basketball years ago and somehow I survived. Football is going down the same road, these idiots are unwatchable.
They’ll probably superimpose sections of fans from tape of previous weeks when stands were full into the empty seats when showing the crowd.
Joe Lockhart, the current NFL Communications Director was Bill Clinton’s Press Secretary during the period when Monica took a knee for Bill, and Obama’s landlord for his current Washington DC residence.
TV rights to broadcast games is the network
and the NFL's big "Cash cow" !!
Ask ESPN what happens when the fans are disrespected
The fans vote with their money.
Season tickets should be refunded upon demand by the fans
Don't burn the tickets, demand a refund and take something away from their "cash cow" for an immediate response !
The lesson learned should be that this week no one should tune in at all.
Why would a TV network that has paid billions of dollars to broadcast NFL games show anything that casts the NFL in a negative light?
You know the NFL is all about free speech rights.....
It is an ever creeping, never ceding onslaught against our freedoms and Constitution.
They will find a dupe to perform for them and in this case, again, it is the uneducated black athlete. The educated black people do not fall for this nonsense.
“camera operators were ordered to avoid crowd shots in case they showed fans counterprotesting the protests.”.........
Hence Trumps accusing the media of “fake news”. If you don’t see it, it never happened. I blame much of this protest crap attention directly on the shoulders of the media. They want this to keep up so they can sell more “fake news”.
The NFL need US, we do NOT need them nor the players. Find a new hobby!
Because they’re anti-American snakes?
Opposition party media won’t permit it. Have to continue to promote the global Communists narrative......NO MATTER WHAT!
I wouldn’t have known, one way or the other, as I’ve been boycotting the NFL going on two years, now.
Doesn’t fit their narrative