Editor's note: There is an official update from the Armed Forces Network at the end of this story
The Fox Sports broadcast team closed Sunday's NFL pre-game pontifications and predictions with something of a political statement: Former NFL great Howie Long addressed the issue of the government shutdown and how it's affecting the Armed Forces Network and U.S. troops' ability to watch professional football.
Image source: Fox Sports via YouTube
On the segment called "Extra Points," Long wrapped up the show with a brief statement.
"Due to our government shutdown, our games today will not be seen on the Armed Forces Network, preventing thousands of men and women overseas from enjoying NFL football," he said. "Over the years here at Fox, we've been fortunate enough to spend time with the troops both here and abroad. So we know firsthand how these games bring a welcome piece of home and a much-deserved respite from the dangerous work they do protecting our liberty. Regardless of politics, I know we all hope the shutdown ends soon and our troops can once again watch the game we all love."
Long's statement seemed to mirror the sentiments of many on social media who were tweeting and posting their displeasure with the shutdown of the service.
Twitter user Steve Wathen described himself as a "Navy veteran working with active duty servicemen in Europe and I feel like I have been kicked in the groin by Obama."
Perhaps the pressure from the people, combined with the considerable audience of Fox Sports viewers has made a difference. Monday morning, the following notice was posted on the European website for AFN:
The Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden, Germany declined to elaborate to TheBlaze about how soon entertainment and sports programming would return.
Could Long's statement have helped in getting NFL games back on the network? Or were the AFN employees that have been recalled part of the Pentagon staff who will be returning to work this week?
Shortly after this story was posted on TheBlaze, we received the following update from John Harrington, Affiliate Relations Rep for AFN.
"Yes, AFN is back on air and NFL games will once again be carried on the network, along with all other sports and entertainment programming that we normally run. Recent Department of Defense policy guidance implementing the Pay Our Military Act has allowed the Defense Media Activity to resume American Forces Network entertainment programming. The Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to recall employees who responsibilities contribute to the moral, well-being, capabilities and readiness of active duty service members. Over the next few days, AFN will begin phasing in its service, to include all AFN sports."
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