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Are National Anthem Protests Causing Ratings Drop For NFL Games?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The National Anthem protests have perhaps been the biggest storyline of the NFL season to this point. They are certainly the biggest storyline that doesn’t involve the actual playing of the game.

What started with one player, Colin Kaepernick, in one town, San Francisco has spread to several NFL cities.

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles players hold up a salute during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles players hold up a salute during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Eagles joined in on the protest when a few members of the team, including defensive leader Malcolm Jenkins, decided to raise their fists in the air to symbolize their displeasure with the oppression of minorities in America that they feel is taking place.

Jenkins, Some Eagles Demonstrate During Anthem

The demonstrations from NFL players have caused a lot of mixed reactions from the viewing public, some of which are applauding the players for expressing their feelings, while others condemn the players for using their platform, to in their view, dishonor the flag, military and police.

The league has not condemned, nor fined players for their protests to this point, but is there a business incentive that may prompt that at some point?

That invokes the question: Are these protests hurting NFL ratings? According to Forbes, the ratings are down so far this season.

Forbes reported that the Thursday Night Football opener between the Broncos and Panthers was down eight percent from 2015. The opening weekend games were also down according to Forbes.

They also said the same pattern of falling ratings occurred in week 2, including the Eagles Monday Night Football matchup with the Bears.

So, are people demonstrating their right to protests the protests by not watching football?

The numbers show that football is still the most widely watched sport in our country, but there is a decrease in eyes early this season and it does not look like players plan on stopping the protests all together anytime soon.

More from Ray Boyd

One Comment

  1. James John says:

    I’m protest too.

    I’m not watching any NFL games, or even highlights until this BS stops.

    Everyone has a right to protest, even the players, but protest at your own time and not at work.

  2. Jim Saprnio…can you give us more details about your restaurant (name, location, etc. — hey, free advertising!) so we can understand if it’s the type of place where people would expect to be able to catch an NFL game?

    If so, then the stand you’ve taken is certainly worthy of respect since you’re putting principles ahead of profit.

  3. To hell with NFL

    Never ever watch another game

    It is a work place. If a waiter spoke like this you wouldn’t go back

    If the mechanics shop owner greeted you with a clenched fist you don’t go there

    If the checker at the pharmacy disrespects the flag in front of you. You find another pharmacy

    So when nfl players turn their work place into a racial political gathering. See Beyonce

    I decide to take my time n money else where

    May the nfl fold n die

  4. tommygun says:

    It’s simple.
    Just boycott the NFL in every way you can.
    Sooner or later Roger G. will have to step up and
    make it mandatory to stand for the Anthem as well as
    show respect for our law enforcement people.

  5. Chris says:

    It is impossible to tell if there is a correlation between the “protests” and decreased viewership, based on just 2 weeks of games. If more and more “protesting” occurs, and there is a commensurate decreasing viewership over time- then perhaps- but right now it could be a number of things. Looking into college football viewership might be interesting.
    It amazes me, this conflation of not pledging allegiance with disrespect for the police and the military- FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS A RIGHT THAT THESE PUBLIC SERVANTS SERVE TO PROTECT!!!! The day that we can’t exercise our freedom to speak out is the day we give up our freedom.

  6. Jim Saprnio says:

    They have every Right to Put their Fist up in the air. ( a Black Power move ) Or Kneel Down and disrespect the National Anthem. I also have the right to Never watch , Buy anything or Let anyone in my Restaurant put on a NFL Game again.

  7. Rey Rivera says:

    I don’t know if my decision to quit watching the NFL will make a difference but I have quit watching because of the entitled players disrespecting our flag and anthem. I’m done with NFL and there decision to not change their policies.

  8. Do you really want your money to be used to protest our Police,Flag and country?
    Protest any Professional Sport that allows this!

  9. NFL ratings have trended down the last four years. I don’t enjoy watching NFL games anymore because they are too corporate, too many frustrating officiating rules, too heavy handed. In short, it feels too much like Monday morning at a workplace than Saturday night leisure time. Are college ratings down?

  10. Lori Hibbard says:

    People that are not watching football, and saying this disrespects the flag, and police, etc……..where does it say we must stand and place our hands over our hearts for the national anthem or the pledge?? Read the first 10 amendments of the constiuttion……the RIGHT to peacefully protest. These are peaceful protests

    1. John Hasan says:

      they have a right to peacefully protest. and fans have a right to peacefully boycott. do you have a problem with that???you don’t strike me as really being a nfl fan. maybe you should buy some tickets and buy a lot of merchandise to make up for former fans that have left the game.

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