ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro, who assumed his role in March 2018, made it one of his goals from the get-go to make sure the cable sports network projected an apolitical image after years of criticism that ESPN had become too political. "But the Floyd story and the protests that have followed, centered around the same issues of police brutality and racial injustice that were the inspiration for Kaepernick, have been all-consuming, taking place during a global pandemic and tense political landscape," says Ben Strauss. "And ESPN’s journalists have used their platform to speak in ways they’re not usually heard." For instance, SportsCenter anchor Michael Eaves, who is black, wanted to make sure his introduction of a segment on athletes' reactions to Floyd's death was deeply personal. “ESPN has allowed us to express ourselves in this moment,” Eaves said. Rob King, ESPN’s editor at large of content, says it's hard to cover the Floyd story and not make it personal. “If it feels and looks different and looks personal, it’s because it is,” King said. “At ESPN, we deeply care about the issue of fairness and equality, and the people we cover clearly share that point of view. That’s why this feels unique. This is a time when everything is heightened with so much uncertainty and feeling fear, but what you hear and see is about simple humanity.” Meanwhile, ESPN historian James Andrew Miller tweeted that "this toothpaste ain’t going back in the tube. When live sports return, @espn employees will not return to days of political silence. ALSO: ESPN's Maria Taylor discusses going viral Friday with her Drew Brees criticism and saying: "My patience left my body when I watched George Floyd take his last breath."