ABC Refuses To Air ‘Black-ish’ Episode Due To Anthem Debate

ABC pulled an episode of ‘BLack-ish’ because it contained debates on NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.

ABC’s Black-ish has routinely addressed controversial social and political issues. From police brutality to drugs to institutionalized racism. However, apparently NFL players kneeling during the national anthem crosses the line.


The creator of Black-ish, Kenya Barris, has verified that the network refuses to air an episode of the sitcom that showed characters arguing over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. The episode I’m question was scheduled to air February 27, but was replaced with a rerun instead. ABC has no plans to run the dismissed episode or to make it available on any other platform.

“Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris said to Variety. “‘Black-ish’ is a show that has spoken to all different types of people and brought them closer as a community and I’m so proud of the series.”

There’s is no sign that the NFL influenced Disney — which owns ABC and ESPN — not to run the episode. However, Disney has been accused of bowing to the league in the past. In 2013, a report surfaced that the NFL pressured ESPN to pull out of a PBS Frontline show on concussions and head injuries. Of course the report was denied by the NFL. In 2003, the NFL leaned on ESPN to cancel the fictional show Playmakers, which showed pro football players in a not-so-flattering light.

It has been months since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league should move on from the anthem issue. Obviously, there is still progress to be made in that regard.


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