NFL television ratings have taken a hit this fall, in part due to viewers’ anger over Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest.
Citing a telephone survey conducted by Rasmussen of 1,000 American adults, The Sporting News reports that almost one-third of adults admit to being unlikely to watch an NFL game. The primary reason — fans say they’ve been turned off by Kaepernick’s practice for the past six weeks of kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to racial injustice and police brutality.
Just 13 percent of those polled said they were more likely to view an NFL game because of Kaepernick’s protest. Fifty-two percent of respondents said the protest had no affect on their decision to watch a game this season. The survey also took race into account. Around 28 percent of African-Americans polled said they were more inclined to watch a game because of the protests, while only 8 percent of whites and 16 percent of minorities said they were more likely to tune in.
Other factors, according to reports, could be at play here. Chief among them, one of the zaniest presidential elections in modern times between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The lack of a retired Peyton Manning and a suspended Tom Brady, and the increasing practice by millennials of watching television online as opposed to the standard television set could also be having an impact.
Whatever it might be that’s driving viewers away, the numbers are terrible. Sunday Night Football audience is down 10 percent, ESPN Monday Night Football off 19 percent, and Fox’s late Sunday afternoon games down 12 percent, according to the Sporting News report.