Members of the East Carolina marching band took a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to Saturday’s game between the Pirates and visiting Central Florida. In addition to being booed and heckled throughout the game, the band and football team are being boycotted by a local ESPN radio station.
ESPNFayetteville.com and 100.1 FM of Colonial Media and Entertainment, a small Pennsylvania media company, will not be carrying this Saturday’s divisional clash between ECU and South Florida in protest of the band’s protest. Or, more plainly, 19 college students knelt Saturday during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of racial injustice; in response, CEO Jeff Andrulonis opted to pull the ECU-USF game from his station’s schedule in order to honor the military.
Andrulonis issued a statement regarding the decision—you can read the full copy below. It’s generally the same response that’s been lobbed at the anthem protests since Colin Kaepernick first took a seat. The station leader bemoaned the protestors’ dedication to their cause, saying they could have protested “quietly in the early morning hours before the game,” but that they instead opted to sleep in. He also cited the need he felt to send a message in response to the protest so that the students could learn a lesson about consequences.
The station plans on airing the remainder of ECU’s games, starting with the following Thursday night clash with Navy. For Andrulonis and those in the Fayetteville area looking for something to do this Saturday, reading is always fun.
Update (4:05 p.m.): ESPN did not respond to a request for comment but issued the following statement to Sports Illustrated:
“100.1 FM is an affiliate that carries some ESPN Radio national programming. Local programming decisions, however, are strictly in their purview.”