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ESPN Fayetteville won't air ECU due to protest

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 10/4/2016 by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
ESPN Fayetteville won't air ECU due to protest © James Guillory, USA TODAY Sports ESPN Fayetteville won't air ECU due to protest

Unhappy with the East Carolina marching band's decision to protest during the national anthem, ESPN Fayetteville announced plans to "protest the protest" on Tuesday by not airing the football team's game Saturday against South Florida 

Last Saturday, 19 members of the ECU marching band channeled San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick by either taking a knee or refusing to play the national anthem during the game against Central Florida. The band was loudly booed at halftime as a result.

The school's chancellor, Dr. Cecil Stanton, issued a statement afterwards that said ECU respects the band's rights to "express personal views" and vowed to "safeguard the right to free speech." However, the school encouraged members to disengage in similar actions in upcoming games in a statement this week. And band director William Staub, School of Music director Christopher Ulffers and College of Fine Arts and Communication dean Christopher Buddo issued a joint statement condemning such actions in the future.

Colonial Media Chairman Jeff Andrulonis labeled the protest "shameful" and explained the decision for ESPN Fayetteville not to air the game. 

"A dozen band members disgraced themselves on the football field this past weekend," he said in the statement. "I'm proud of our country and I'm proud of our soldiers...especially our soldiers fro Fort Bragg...fighting for our country.

"I've talked with some of our East Carolina football sponsors yesterday and will be talking with more of them today. So far, it has been unanimous. Every sponsor I've talked to agrees that last weekend's spectacle at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was shameful and a message needs to be sent." 

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