The national anthem has become an expected extension of the fan experience, but if you're at home watching Monday Night Football on ESPN, you likely will not see the performance. Jimmy Pitaro, president of the ESPN, told reporters that the network does not plan to televise the national anthem during its broadcasts this season despite it being a hot topic of debate.

Covering the intersection of sports and politics

The coverage of protests during the national anthem that includes kneeling on the field, players raising their fists, or staying in the locker room, even during the offseason, has ceased to slow down.

With the season prepared to begin in the coming weeks the coverage is set to ramp up, but maybe not for ESPN.

Axios reporter Sara Fischer was there when Pitaro was answering questions. "ESPN is not a political organization," Pitaro told reporters. "...We'll cover the intersection of sports and politics."

Pitaro gave examples of the reigning Super Bowl Champion Philidelphia Eagles being disinvited to the White House, or players kneeling for the national anthem as subjects in that intersection.

The new ESPN president also said that the network has not shown the anthem during Monday Night Football in the past.

ESPN senior vice president Stephanie Druley said that they will put their focus on the game broadcast because that is what their "fans want."

Only on three occasions did the network show the national anthem before the game last season: after the shootings in Las Vegas, Hurricane Harvey, and the protests across the league in response to President Donald Trump's comments during a rally.

ESPN's relationship with NFL

According to USA Today Sports, ESPN pays about $2 billion per year for the rights to broadcast Monday Night Football. While the NFL and NFL Players Association are working together to come up with a better plan to deal with player demonstrations during the anthem, ESPN says they are working on their relationship with the NFL.

"We want to be in business with the NFL and I believe they want to be in business with us," Pitaro explained

ESPN's deal with the National Football League, which includes weekly Monday Night Football games and one wild-card playoff game, is good for four more seasons.

Players signaled these protests as a symbol against police brutality and racial inequality, but president Trump and other critics have heavily condemned the action.