Sports

NFL ratings set to drop again this week with more national anthem protests

Malcolm Smith, Khalil Mack, Reggie Nelson

Here’s the fact: the NFL has a major ratings problem, but that’s hasn’t stopped them from denying the controversiality of some the problems that exist.

Understandably, Sunday Night Football saw its ratings go down as it went up again the second presidential debate. The ratings are actually at the lowest since Week 8 of the 2013 season. However, the presidential debates cannot be the only thing to blame for an 11 percent overall drop that’s looking to nosedive after Week 5.

Here is the memo from the NFL to all 32 teams in an effort to reassure them that the ratings shouldn’t worry them:

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The NFL may conveniently find not evidence to support the Kaepernick-inspired protests causing a decline in viewership, but we do. Thousands of fans have chosen to stop watching the NFL games because they are sick of the disrespectful anti-americanism displayed through the protests against the national anthem. The NFL should be a place that is a break from politics – not a stage to broadcast your political viewpoints – especially not during the national anthem which should be a time for unity and everyone’s utmost respect.

Is the controversy surrounding the national anthem protests the only cause of the NFL’s TV ratings to drop? Of course. It a culmination of other primetime features on TV like the debates as well as other problems surrounding the NFL. However, the NFL cannot simply ignore that there is a movement of former fans who viewed the national anthem protests as a “last straw” that spurred them to turn off their TVs and find a better use of their time than watch millionaire football players protest issues they don’t truly face.

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The Sporting News reported last Thursday that the “Kaepernick Effect” is really starting to hit the NFL in the wallet. The four major NFL broadcast networks – CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN – pay nearly $5 billion each year for broadcast rights; however, sources told The Sporting News that those networks are actually starting to return money to advertisers.

Ad revenue honestly is the only way to push the NFL to change their policy as far as allowing politicized protests go. Will the election cause a drop in ratings? Yes. But 11 percent? I don’t think so. The issue extends beyond a lack of star power and interest in the election.

In the same way the NFL allowed their players to exercise their first amendment rights by protesting racial inequality, former fans are exercising their rights by switching off their TVs. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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