Angry Football Fans Fight Back against BLM



by Adrian Mendoza Perez

Why have the NFL’s ratings plummeted?



The National Football League (NFL) set the scene perfectly to start the season on Thursday, September 10th. No one could imagine a better pairing than Deshaun Watson against Patrick Mahomes, two of the league's youngest stars and most notable quarterbacks. The result of a Chiefs victory or a Texans win would shape the season's storylines. After all, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs needed to show that they were still in their class, while the Texans were hungry from a frustrating defeat to the Colts in the 2019 playoffs. It was almost a matter of reality that Thursday's broadcast was destined to break NFL TV rating records, as far as audiences were concerned; the game was almost too fun to not watch. Analysts could not have been more mistaken about this as the predicted die-hard NFL fans were no shows. According to Deadline, cumulative “ratings were down 16.1% from last season's Thursday Night Football opener between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers”: the cause—peaceful protesting.





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Peaceful national anthem protests anger fans:

It is no secret that our country is currently divided. Certain members of the population have already vowed to boycott NFL games due to their sponsorship of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and similar marches in favor of racial injustice in America. No one thought that the boycotts would plummet NFL television ratings drastically, but they did. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s advocacy for ending police brutality this offseason (after the league’s take against the Colin Kaepernick-led protests in 2016) coupled with the national anthem kneeling pushed some fans over the brink. The frustrated NFL fans called kneeling insensitive and disrespectful toward those who serve the country. President Trump also weighed in to offer his view, stating that, “we will never kneel to our national anthem or our great American flag.”


Why do players kneel:

After hours of careful consideration, and a visit from Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, Eric Reid, and Colin Kaepernick agreed that kneeling would demonstrate reverence for those who died and condemn police brutality in America. It would be a nonviolent demonstration during the anthem intended to honor lost lives, but it quickly turned political. Many have struggled to grasp the purpose behind the protest, even the NFL's very own Dree Brews. Brees attracted strong backlash from a slate of athletes after saying that he would "never agree with anybody disrespecting" the flag of the United States. It wasn't until he listened to other players and learned that he lacked an understanding of the problems facing African-Americans. As Brees was educated, he found that his beliefs had changed.





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Drew Brees apologized for his remarks on kneeling during the national anthem after multiple teammates reached out to speak with him.


What will the NFL do:

For virtually every major North American professional sports league participating in the protests, the long-term effect on their brand will not be known for a long time to come. The NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB have seen major decreases in viewership but are making efforts to improve. The NFL’s primary focus is to boost TV ratings and obtain sponsorship deals that cover the lack of earnings because of COVID-19. In regards to the protests, the NFL will continue to support its players as they aspire to unite and protest in their way. The League has also pledged $250 million to fight institutional injustice in America; clearly, a decline in NFL viewership will not dissuade the NFL from supporting BLM.


For virtually every major North American professional sports league participating in the protests, the long-term effect on their brand will not be known for a long time to come. The NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB have seen major decreases in viewership but are making efforts to improve. The NFL’s primary focus is to boost TV ratings and obtain sponsorship deals that cover the lack of earnings because of COVID-19. In regards to the protests, the NFL will continue to support its players as they aspire to unite and protest in their way. The League has also pledged $250 million to fight institutional injustice in America; clearly, a decline in NFL viewership will not dissuade the NFL from supporting BLM.