ABC cancels ‘black-ish’ episode featuring debate about NFL kneeling protest

March 27, 2018 GMT

ABC has canceled plans to run an episode of the sitcom “black-ish” that would have covered several political issues, including the right of athletes to kneel during the national anthem before games, Variety reported.

Titled “Please, Baby, Please,” the episode would have been centered on Anthony Anderson’s main character Dre improvising a bedtime story to his infant son that “conveys many of Dre’s concerns about the current state of the country.” In one scene, Dre and his oldest son argue about some professional athletes’ kneeling protest.

“One of the things that has always made ‘black-ish’ so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates,” an ABC spokesperson told Variety. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”

It isn’t clear whether the topic of athlete protest was the main reason or one of many reasons why the episode was shelved. Some people pointed out that Disney, which owns ABC, also owns NFL partner ESPN.

ABC Which is Owned By Disney, Who Also Owns ESPN, Shelves Black-ish Episode That Addressed NFL Players Kneeling Against Racism https://t.co/MoYS0xbFUv pic.twitter.com/iVEdWgw4LV Robert Littal (@BSO) March 11, 2018

It’s not out of the question that the NFL could have had influence on Disney’s multiple arms in this situation. A Sports Business Journal report Monday said NFL executives have privately described the league’s current relationship with ESPN as “the worst they’ve ever seen.”