Legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current FOX broadcaster Troy Aikman says it was a bad decision by his network to show the national anthem and the protests last Sunday.
"I just thought it was a bad decision. I thought that people tuned in to watch football, and sports is supposed to be their getaway from politics and from the real world. So I didn't agree with those decisions," Aikman told The Musers on KTCK-FM 96.7/AM 1310 The Ticket.
Per the Dallas Morning News, here's the transcript of the conversation:
Back when you played, were you guys even out for the national anthem every week?
Troy Aikman: Yes we were. I'll first go back to last year which I really have not quite understood. It was really mandated by FOX, I don't think it was something that was handed down by the NFL.
Last year when Colin Kaepernick began that protest in the preseason, which obviously carried over then to the regular season with a number of players joining in, we didn't show the anthem. We never show the anthem live except for the Super Bowl and I think maybe the NFC Championship, but in general we don't show the anthem live. We would go back and we would show those players that protested during the anthem. We would show that in game at some point which I never really understood.
I just thought it was a bad decision. I thought that people tuned in to watch football, and sports is supposed to be their getaway from politics and from the real world. So I didn't agree with those decisions, and then last week when the comments were made I guess on Friday or whenever it was, Saturday there was some concern as to what then would happen then on Sunday. I was informed by my producer (Richard) Zyontz that we were going to be televising the anthem live, and I asked the question, "Is that a directive from FOX or is that handed down from the NFL?" I didn't get an answer to that. He didn't know. I don't know if all the anthems were televised live or not. Ours was, and I didn't agree with it then.
Whatever your stance is, I just don't think we have to show it. We can talk about it, it can certainly be a discussion, but I think what's happened in a lot of ways is the NFL now has become political. Some people are turned off by that. The last poll I saw was that most people are. I just hope that we can move forward in a lot of ways, but I hope that for our sport that we can just go play football, and people can just tune in, and not have to pick a side or talk about politics. They can just root for the Cowboys, or the Redskins, or the Eagles, or whoever their teams are, and kind of escape for the three and a half hours which I think people were able to do at one time.
The Cowboys take on the Los Angeles Rams at Jerry World on Sunday.