Week 4 of the NFL preseason generally is regarded as featuring too many not ready for prime time players to warrant national television coverage.
But the games are televised locally, in one case with a subject of significant national interest.
So it will be Thursday that Dan Fouts, the analyst in CBS’ No. 2 NFL booth, will find himself working Colin Kaepernick’s first game since his decision not to stand for the pregame national anthem became a subject of national debate.
Fouts works Chargers preseason games, so he will be in the home TV booth when the 49ers visit. How will he handle the subject on the telecast?
“To me, the important thing is how it affects the team,” Fouts said Tuesday during CBS’ NFL media lunch in Manhattan.
“We will focus on that part of it more so than what it’s all about [broadly], because it’s a football game. That’s what the football fan wants to hear.”
Fouts declined to offer his thoughts on Kaepernick’s actions. “I’m just concerned about the team and how it’s going to affect the locker room,” he said.
If Kaepernick avoids getting cut, his next game will be on “Monday Night Football” against the Rams on Sept. 12, a game that will be called by Chris Berman and Steve Young.
Because that game is the second of an opening night doubleheader, ESPN does not plan to show the anthem live. But if Kaepernick is on the scene, that scene will be recorded for possible use during the telecast.
On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, “Monday Night Football” producer Jay Rothman said the story would “absolutely” be covered thoroughly.
“First of all, Kaepernick has to make the 53-man team, and that’s two weeks away, so we don’t know that yet,” he said. “The timing is such that because it’s a doubleheader game, we do not cover the anthem. We will not cover the anthem live in the second game regardless.
“However, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t record it and report it. And I think our job, especially with the whole Kaepernick deal, it’s our job to document and report the game. And those who are working on the game, if Kaepernick is on the team and chooses to sit again, I’m sure they’ll get perspective from Kaepernick, they’ll get perspective from [coach] Chip Kelly, they’ll get perspective from others and report.”
Lisa Salters, MNF’s main sideline reporter, added, “Our job is to document and report what happens. Lindsay [Czarniak] will be the reporter for that game, and I’m sure she’s going to spend a bit of time talking to Colin before the game, should he make the team, about his position.
“She will get his reaction about why, about the criticism he’s gotten, the support he’s gotten, and she will present a report based on that and based on what actually happens during the national anthem. He may stand during the national anthem, and that would be huge as well, because it will be going against what he said he was going to do.”