In a new survey conducted by Seton Hall Sports Poll, 56% of those surveyed feel that athletes like Colin Kaepernick and others who have refused to stand for the National Anthem are hurting the NFL’s television ratings. In staggering numbers, viewership of Monday Night Football is down 24%, followed by a 19% decline for Sunday Night Football, and an 18% drop for Thursday Night Football. At a team owners conference recently, NFL commissioner Roger Goodall tried to downplay the significance of the athletes’ protest which was started by Colin Kaepernick during the NFL’s preseason games.
It is difficult to dispute the numbers because other reasons given by respondents for the decline in ratings are: the presidential election (50 percent), oversaturation of games (44 percent), postseason baseball (39 percent), and the emphasis placed on head injuries and how it’s affecting athletes (33 percent). In a league where 69% of the players are Black and a few more percent of other players are from other ethnicities of color, it is difficult to deny that Black athletes being defiant does not affect the viewing audience. One study showed that 83% of the NFL viewing audience is white, with 21% more Republican voters being NFL fans as compared to Democratic voters.
According to a poll by the Bleacher Report, 100% of white NFL players surveyed, said they will be voting for Donald Trump. With such a strong backing, Trump made it a point to raise the issue of Colin Kaepernick’s protest during one of his campaign rallies. Trump proclaimed, “Honestly, we’ve taken a lot of people away from the NFL. And the other reason is Kaepernick. Kaepernick,” as the reason for the double-digit decline in NFL ratings.
Without a doubt, the numbers clearly show that Black athletes refusal to salute the flag during the National Anthem, is having a significant impact on the amount of people that have decided to not watch as much NFL football anymore.