In what its parent company's CEO is calling a "protest to a protest," ESPN affiliate radio station 101.1 FM (WFAY) is turning its back on broadcasting East Carolina University's football game Saturday against South Florida after members of the ECU marching band took a knee during the national anthem last weekend to protest oppression of black people, Mediaite reports. "Roughly a dozen band members disgraced themselves on the football field this past weekend," Jeff Andrulonis, head of parent company Colonial Media, said in a statement shared by a local sports anchor. "They're college students and it's about time they get an education on the concept that their actions have consequences."
Andrulonis claims that every ECU football sponsor he's spoken to so far thinks the band's protest that continued what Colin Kaepernick began was "shameful" and that "a message needs to be sent." He also says he supports the band members' constitutional right to free speech and that they could've protested before the game, "but that would have required them to wake up early." ESPN has responded to the incident in a statement sent to Sports Illustrated, noting, "100.1 FM is an affiliate that carries some ESPN Radio national programming. Local programming decisions, however, are strictly in their purview." (For the Win calls the refusal "ridiculous.")