Sportscaster Al Michaels and NBC Sports executive producer Fred Gaudelli addressed several of the controversies that have plagued the NFL this season during a panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday.
Regarding football players kneeling during the national anthem before games, Gaudelli–the executive producer of “Sunday Night Football,” “Thursday Night Football,” and Super Bowl LII–said that any such protests during the Super Bowl will be covered live.
“The Super Bowl is a live event, just like ‘Sunday Night Football.’ When you’re covering alive event, you’re covering whats happening. So if there are players that choose to kneel, they will be shown live. I would say, probably since Thanksgiving, a lot of that has kind of disappated and died down. It’s certainly possible it could happen again.”
The pair also addressed claims that attendance at games have suffered this season due to the protests.
“I think there’s a lot of reasons for it,” Gaudelli said. “Obviously, you can watch the game anywhere on any device there is. If your team isn’t having the season you’d hoped they have, if the weather is bad…I think there are a lot of factors and to pin it on one thing I think is erroneous.”
“There are a lot of empty seats, especially in the beginning of the second half,” Michaels chimed in. “Most of the seats in most of the stadiums have been sold, but you go to Atlanta, where they just opened up a new stadium. They have behind the lower bowl a 100 yard almost mall. You’ve got stores, you’ve got bars, you’ve got restaurants, you’ve got games for the kids.”