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Volume 25 No. 8
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ABC Shelves "Black-ish" Episode That Discussed NFL Player Protests

Texans players knelt during the national anthem to protest comments made by Owner Bob McNair
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ABC has "indefinitely shelved a politically and socially themed episode of 'Black-ish'" that included a scene in which characters Dre and his oldest son Junior "argue over the rights of athletes to kneel during the performance of the national anthem at football games," according to Daniel Holloway of VARIETY. The episode's cancellation was a "result of creative differences" between ABC and showrunner Kenya Barris. It was originally supposed to air Feb. 27 (VARIETY.com, 3/9). USA TODAY's Steven Ruiz wrote ABC is "obviously closely connected with ESPN, which has a multi-billion dollar deal with the NFL, so it makes sense that Disney, which owns both networks, would want to avoid a divisive conversation regarding a product it has poured a lot of money into over the years" (USATODAY.com, 3/11). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith noted there has been "no indication that the NFL leaned on Disney not to air the show, although Disney has been accused of kowtowing to the NFL in the past." In '13, a report that the NFL "pressured ESPN to pull out of a PBS 'Frontline' show about concussions was denied" by the league. In '03, the NFL "convinced ESPN to cancel the entertainment show 'Playmakers,' which depicted professional football players engaged in illegal activities" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 3/11).