Trump Launches Petition to Pressure ESPN to Reverse Anthem Decision

President Donald Trump said he is the first to sign on to his own petition—actually his campaign committee's—to try and force ESPN to play the national anthem before Monday Night Football, with the President branding the cable net spineless in the face of a liberal mob for its decision not to air it.

The cable net said last week that it would maintain its policy of, generally, not airing the anthem. The decision by some NFL players to take a knee during the anthem in protest of the shootings of unarmed African Americans has become a flashpoint for the league. President Trump has been highly critical of the players protest, including at a rally in West Virginia this week, saying the network was not defending "our beautiful, beautiful national anthem" or "our flag. "We don't like that. The ESPN thing was terrible."

In an email to presumed supporters Thursday, the President said: ESPN has now decided it will no longer play the National Anthem before Monday Night Football. If 'America' is too offensive for anyone in our country, then what are they doing in America? I’m calling on you to join me in denouncing this SPINELESS surrender to the politically correct liberal mob."

The email petition drive originated with Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising committee comprising Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and the Republican National Committee.

The White House just this week was touting the President's effectiveness as a campaigner and fundraiser.

Attacks on the media have been a staple of those fundraising efforts.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.