ESPN Dedicates Week to Veterans and Active Military

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ESPN Dedicates Week to Veterans and Active Military

SportsCenter from Parris Island, First Take from San Diego
Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Base in Germany

ESPN dedicates a week of multiplatform content November 5-11 as part of the ninth annual America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative. Highlights include First Take live from the Naval Base in San Diego on Monday, Nov. 6 and SportsCenter:AM live from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C., on Friday, Nov. 10. In addition, the annual State Farm Armed Forces Classic will be played at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Nov. 10.

“ESPN is proud to dedicate a week of multiplatform content, volunteer efforts and financial support to honor our veterans and active military. These incredible men and women who have served and continue to serve the United States include our employees, our family members, and of course our fans,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship. “From First Take at the San Diego Naval Base to SportsCenter at Parris Island and the Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, we are honored to be surrounded by those who fight for our freedom and to share their incredible stories.”

USAA and Applebee’s are sponsors of ESPN’s week-long Veterans Day activation and many well-known athletes, coaches and celebrities will provide daily “shout outs” to members of the military within ESPN programming. The tributes will appear on SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms.

ESPN’s “American Heroes” week will feature:

The entire three-hour SportsCenter:AM on Friday, Nov. 10, will be hosted by Sage Steele, Jay Harris and Randy Scott from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET live from Parris Island. Each host will describe what Veterans Day means to them.

Among the features airing on SportsCenter:

  • 22 Peaks: The story of one high school student who is climbing 22 separate mountain peaks in the Northeast to draw attention to the 22 suicides by Veterans each day.
  • Israel Del Toro: The unbelievable story of last year’s ESPY’s Pat Tillman award recipient.
  • Coming Home: The popular feature documenting surprise homecomings of soldiers to their families.
  • Team Rubicon: Viewers will learn how veterans serve in the role of the first responders during natural disasters.
  • Making of a Marine: What does it takes to become a Marine? Viewers will follow Marines training at Parris Island.
  • Army, Navy, Air Force Football Players: “What does it mean to be playing at home on Veterans Day? “
  • Marines at Parris Island “What does it mean to be a Marine?”
  • The Significance of Parris Island an essay by reporter Tom Rinaldi.

SportsCenter will also air its Veterans Day Salute special on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Armed Forces Classic
Just one day before Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 10, West Virginia and Texas A&M will meet for the second consecutive season as they face off in the 2017 Armed Forces Classic. The Mountaineers defeated the Aggies 81-77 in last year’s Big 12/SEC Challenge, behind 19 points and nine boards from Jevon Carter. The two squads also met in the 2009 76 Classic Semifinals, in which the Mountaineers picked up a 73-66 win.

The Armed Forces Classic brings premier college basketball games to American troops wherever they are stationed around the world. Through its first five years, the U.S. Department of Defense and ESPN has presented the Armed Forces Classic in a rotation among bases of the various military branches.

Karl Ravech and college basketball analysts Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams  will call the matchup between the Mountaineers and Aggies from Ramstein Air Base in Germany (6 p.m., ESPN). Leading up to the game, Ravech, Greenberg and Williams will participate in a number of activities on the base, including the gun range, rappel tower, military-working dog experiences, parachute simulator and vehicle rollover training. Their training experiences will be highlighted during the telecast.

ESPN’s college basketball coverage will feature more than 2,100 games across ESPN platforms this season.

First Take
ESPN’s First Take with host Molly Qerim and commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, will be live Monday, Nov. 6, at 10 a.m. from the flight deck of the USS Freedom at the United States Naval Base in San Diego, CA. The show will have a live audience of military personnel as the crew discusses the hottest topics of the day. The program will welcome a few other special guests including ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards, former NFL quarterback and ESPN Radio host Donovan McNabb, and former NFL long snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer. Boyer served six years and multiple tours in the United States Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan. will feature several Veterans Day-related pieces, including:

  • Boxing Vets: At world-renowned Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, owner Bruce Silverglade created a free program for veterans to train after being contacted by the VA Hospital of NY. Training with David Murray, a small group of veterans of all ages has become a tight knit group, bonding over shared experiences.

In addition, many of the features from SportsCenter’s Veterans Day coverage will be available for viewing on

College GameDay
On Veterans Day, Sat., Nov. 11, ESPN College GameDay (9 a.m., ESPN) will include a feature on UCF’s Rory Coleman who was inspired to join the Army by his grandfather, Williams Coleman, a World War II prisoner of war who jumped on D-Day with the 101st Airborne.

Sunday NFL Countdown
On Sunday, Nov. 12, Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m., ESPN) will air a first person feature by Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker who details his USO tour experience — the US missile strike on Syria occurred in the midst of his visit — and shares his appreciation for service members.

SEC Nation
On Veterans Day, Sat., Nov. 11, SEC Nation (10 a.m., SEC Network) will include a special feature on the story of Alabama walk-on Levi Wallace and his father who served 21 years in the United States Air Force.

Texas GameDay
On Saturday, Nov. 11, Nate Boyer will be a guest on Texas GameDay (4 p.m., Longhorn Network) prior to the Longhorns’ match-up against Kansas. Boyer is a former long snapper for the Longhorns and served in the United States Army as a Green Beret. Texas GameDay airs live on Longhorn Network two hours before every University of Texas football game.

espnW will profile Simone Askew, the first black woman to lead West Point cadets as First Captain of the Corps of Cadets, the highest student position at the United States Military Academy.

ESPN On Demand
During the Month of November, ESPN On Demand will salute veterans with a folder filled with content dedicated to celebrate and honor America’s Heroes.

ESPN Corporate Citizenship
In honor of those who have served, ESPN will support Team Rubicon Global. Team Rubicon recruits, trains, equips, organizes and deploys veterans to aid in disaster response operations around the world. ESPN employees in Bristol will participate in a panel discussion with Team Rubicon regional and global veterans on Nov. 8.

ESPN also will support UP2US Sports Operation Coach program which hires and trains veterans to serve as youth-sports coaches in underserved communities.

Additionally, ESPN employees in New York will be stuffing care packages for veterans, and in Charlotte, employees will visit the senior veterans at Summit Place, a local assisted living facility. ESPN Veterans and their families will also be walking in the NY Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11.



Molly Mita

I am a proud member of the ESPN communications team that is responsible for building publicity for award winning brands including SportsCenter and Outside the Lines. I have spent my last few years working in the NFL at The Detroit Lions and The Baltimore Ravens before heading to NBCUniversal. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work at some of the best organizations in the world but I am most excited for my journey here ESPN.
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