It’s been six weeks since national anthem protests kicked off with this year’s National Football League season, and as President Donald Trump, many football fans and the majority of Americans see the public displays as unpatriotic and disrespectful, TV ratings have plummeted nearly 10 percent so far this season.
Instead of being viewed as a unifying anti-discrimination civil rights movement, the anthem protests are seen as anti-American displays of contempt and divisiveness against police officers, the military and everything America stands for.
“The disagreement is a contrast to the message of unity that NFL owners and players have tried to project as President Trump took on the league,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. “The National Football League’s more muted approach in recent days to responding to attacks from President Donald Trump followed a tense meeting … in which several owners argued the league’s combative stance was unproductive, according to three people familiar with the meeting.”
NFL business being sacked
Many believe that the NFL’s stubborn stance of allowing the continued contempt for the country is economic suicide.
“Those owners argued that taking on a sitting president over whether players should be required to stand for the national anthem was bad for business, while others thought the league should continue to stand up to the criticism, these people said,” WSJ’s Matthew Futterman explained.
Fan’s repugnance of watching millionaire athletes using the gridiron to stage political demonstrations has apparently maxed out many football fans’ tolerance.
“It seems ‘take a knee’ syndrome that hits some players when the Star-Spangled Banner is played has driven fans away,” Townhall’s Matt Vespa noted.
The motivation and spirit behind the protests – coming straight out of the playbook of the militant activist group Black Lives Matter (BLM) – is being questioned by many.
“As you already know, players are doing this to bring attention to police brutality and race issues facing America,” Vespa added. “So, they decided to engage in antics that are seen as disrespecting the flag, our troops, and our veterans.”
As many NFL coaches, team owners and executives rallied behind the protesting players, more and more fans have been turned off – turning off their TV sets and staying away from the stadiums as they return to Sunday morning services and find more activities to do around town and in the home on weekends.
“It’s been a public relations disaster, with approval for the league dropping 13 points, 34 percent of Americans saying they’re less likely to watch the NFL because of the protests, and third week ticket sales saw a near 20 percent dip,” Vespa reported.
After former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s sideline antics started the repeat offenses on the field last season, an avalanche of players followed suit this year, with many viewing the protests as political grandstanding for the ultra left.
Not one to keep to himself, Trump quickly took issue with the NFL, and to the league’s demise, it pushed back against the president.
“President Trump went after the league for these antics last month,” the conservative journalist recounted. “The league responded – and they’ve been getting kicked in the teeth ever since.”
Numbers don’t lie
The latest Nielsen ratings indicate that the NFL needs to change up its game if it wants to get it profits back in line by season’s end.
“Through the first six weeks of the NFL season, total viewership of games is down 7.5 percent, compared with the first six weeks of 2016,” ESPN announced. “An average of 15 million people watched games for the first six weeks this year, compared with 16.2 million people through Week 6 last season, according to metrics from Nielsen.”
When contrasting this year’s numbers to those from two years ago, an even greater decline is witnessed.
“Compared with the first six weeks of the 2015 season, NFL ratings are off 18.7 percent – a sharp drop, but a smaller decline when considering the general overall fall in television viewership due to people dropping their cable packages,” ESPN’s Darren Rovell stressed. “Last year, the NFL attributed part of its viewership decline during the first nine weeks of the season to competition from presidential election coverage. Viewership was indeed better for the second half of the season, after the election, but it still finished down 8 percent, compared with 2015.”