United States military personnel stationed overseas will be able to watch Sunday’s NFL conference championship games, despite the ongoing government shutdown.
The American Forces Network – also known as the Armed Forces Network – which allows U.S. armed forces to watch American TV around the world, had been unavailable since a standoff over immigration policy caused the shutdown Friday night at midnight.
The Pentagon had said Saturday that AFN would remain unavailable if the shutdown continued into Sunday. The NFL’s response was to make the games available online for free through NFL Game Pass, but only at USO Centers — which are few and far between around the world.
Many reported that, during the government shutdown in 2013, AFN remained on air. Military members – and especially those who are NFL fans – were thus frustrated to see that TVs were displaying messages that AFN was not available.
Some posted photos on Twitter that showed those TVs and that message:
@RepDrewFerguson seriously? Within minutes of the govt shutdown they turn off the armed forces network?! Signed a deployed military member of the GA 3rd congressional district. #GovtShutdown pic.twitter.com/Ui6NFJHYct
— George Costanza (@motox3005) January 20, 2018
@CNN Here on Bagram Airfield Afghanistan the Armed Forces Network (AFN), which provides our only tv access, has stopped broadcasting stations, due to the government shutdown: broadcasting only muzak and the screen "Due to the government shutdown, AFN services are not available.'
— Cynthia Carroll (@CynthiaCarrol19) January 20, 2018
AFN stands for Armed Forces Network. AFN broadcasts TV programming to our military personnel stationed worldwide. Since the government is shut down, AFN cannot operate. Republicans clearly do not support the troops! pic.twitter.com/wQ1hYH1STO
— Derek (@soju_warrior) January 20, 2018
— Educators Resist (@educatorsresist) January 20, 2018
Woke up to check on govt shutdown update… except the Armed Forces Network is shut down too. Getting all my news from FB and Twitter. pic.twitter.com/3qpNMG38pg
— John Sullivan (@JackSully492) January 20, 2018
— Chuck Maskell (@RWBOS85) January 20, 2018
But it appears AFN will be back up by 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
It’s unclear who reversed the initial decision, or why, or what the reasoning for the initial decision was in the first place. But what matters is that the armed forces will get to watch the football games they were looking forward to.