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Tracee Ellis Ross Opened Up About That Controversial "Black-ish" Episode About NFL Kneeling

Ross said she pushed for answers about why the episode exploring NFL players kneeling during the anthem was pulled from the air.

Last updated on June 7, 2018, at 3:38 p.m. ET

Posted on June 7, 2018, at 12:51 p.m. ET

During an actors roundtable discussion for the Hollywood Reporter, Tracee Ellis Ross opened up about the Black-ish episode that was shelved due to "creative differences."

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An episode of the hit ABC comedy exploring NFL players kneeling during the national anthem was set to air in February, according to Variety.

Bob D'amico / ABC

Amid the national uproar and political debate surrounding athletes' protest against police brutality, the episode was postponed indefinitely due to "creative differences we were unable to resolve," a spokesperson for the network said at the time.

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It's not unlike Black-ish to address hard-hitting issues, as the show has previously explored topics like police brutality in a manner praised by critics.

But show creator Kenya Barris said that the decision to not air the kneeling episode was a mutual agreement between him and ABC since the two parties didn't agree with the direction it was going in.

Ross, who plays Dr. Rainbow Johnson on the show, told the Hollywood Reporter, "The details of why the episode was pulled, and everything that has surrounded that, I do not have the answers for."

Ross has been very active when it comes to social issues, but the actor said she purposefully stayed out of conversations about the episode because she "had no power to do something beyond that."
The Hollywood Reporter

Ross has been very active when it comes to social issues, but the actor said she purposefully stayed out of conversations about the episode because she "had no power to do something beyond that."

"I have asked for the information and pushed for the information that I felt would be helpful to me and constructive in what I can do with it, because I find it frightening," she said.

Ross did reveal, however, that the cast is heavily involved in discussions about what a particular episode may highlight: "We have conversations about the subject matter of our episodes, yes, we do, very vocal, strong conversations about those things."
The Hollywood Reporter

Ross did reveal, however, that the cast is heavily involved in discussions about what a particular episode may highlight: "We have conversations about the subject matter of our episodes, yes, we do, very vocal, strong conversations about those things."

Online, the conversation surrounding the episode being shelved upset many fans, who thought it was contradictory for the network to air the now-canceled Roseanne revival — which saw the lead character return as a Trump supporter — yet squash a message about black athletes refusing to stand during the national anthem.

I love how ABC canceled Rosanne, thinking that would solve all their problems and they’d look like the good guy...and now it opened up a new can of worms and everyone is requesting that they drop the “Black-ish” kneeling episode too. https://t.co/8cKxyxIdBI

Immediately following the announcement that Roseanne would not return for an additional season, people began asking ABC to air the unseen Black-ish episode.

Are we gonna get that kneeling anthem episode of Black-ish next season, @ABCNetwork?

But as it stands, the network seems to have no plans on ever releasing it.

Hey, ABC, air the kneeling episode of “Black-ish” in all of “Roseanne”’s empty slots.

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