It seems that the NFL is finding out for itself that Left-leaning politics and sports don’t mix. Athletics, fundamentally, is about taking pride in one’s team, and by extension, one’s nation — something that the league has lost touch of.
In what can only be described as a dismal reception from the public, this season’s Week Two is at the lowest rating mark since 1998, with the first two games of the season down double-digits in a multi-year low.
Week one’s first game between the Patriots and the Chiefs was a disappointment, receiving only a 14.6 rating for NBC, compared to last year’s 16.5 rating for the Panthers-Broncos match.
These results correlate with a poll conducted in 2016, which showed, among other things, that 44 percent of NFL viewers will stop watching if the national anthem protests — championed by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick — continue.
When the trend of disappointing ratings first started, many were eager to try and find some other explanation, accusing the TV coverage of Hurricane Irma for siphoning some of the viewership. However, now that this trend has solidified with more data to support it, there seems to be little other reason for this slippage.
Ever since the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers began to refuse to stand for the national anthem, citing racism and inequality in America, it has sparked a level of political controversy rarely seen in sports.
This wasn’t the only study that came to this same conclusion. A telephone/online survey over 1,000 Americans found that 32 percent of adults felt less likely to watch an NFL game because of these Kaepernick-motivated protests.
Some media outlets took a different interpretation for the cause of this rating deterioration.concluded that these statistics showed that Americans were in solidarity with Kaepernick — showing support for the quarterback who has yet to be picked by any team for the controversy he might cause.
It’s a perspective that stands in stark contrast with what the data shows, however, as only 13 percent of the Rasmussen poll showed people would watch the NFL more because of the controversy, with 52 percent of viewers finding themselves indifferent to the entire situation.
In other words, more Americans find Kaepernick’s actions and motivations distasteful than not. The conclusion is simple — people are turning off the NFL precisely because of anti-American sentiments such as these.
As for the executives at the NFL, they would do well to keep this in mind. If not, the league can find itself in a world of financial hurt. Football is a distinctly American sport, and the league is – or at least, was – a source of pride for American sports enthusiasts.
As the NFL moves away from the direction of what made them great, it won’t be surprising to see many of their devoted fans feeling alienated by this shift.