Yes, we’re really still talking about Colin Kaepernick and his protest of the national anthem.
One must imagine even Kaepernick is tired of hearing about himself at this point. There’s been a heated debate over his protest, but both sides have more in common than they think. While people may disagree over whether or not his protest is disrespectful or productive, many still agree that Kaepernick has the free speech to do so — just as those who boo him or chant “USA” as he enters the field have their own free speech rights to do so.
And, of course, most of us should be aware that free speech isn’t speech without consequence. While I (The Analytical Economist) don’t believe the NFL should reprimand him, fans are allowed to respond however they like, and eventually the market will decide the appropriate plan of action. And right now, the NFL’s ratings are down across the board, with most fans pointing the finger at Kaepernick. As Fox News reported: The NFL’s ratings are down 29 percent this year and many fans attribute the drop to players protesting the national anthem.
According to a Yahoo Sports and YouGov poll, 40 percent of NFL fans said they are watching less football because players are following Colin Kaepernick’s lead and taking a knee during the pre-game rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers current starting quarterback, started his demonstration against police brutality during the preseason.
Some digress, arguing that the Kaepernick protests are just one factor of many.
Former NFL long snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer and former NFL wide receiver Randall Hill joined Brian Kilmeade on “Fox & Friends” this morning to react.
Boyer said there’s a possibility that the protests are partly to blame for the ratings decline, but there are other factors, such as the presidential election, the retirement of iconic player Peyton Manning and Tom Brady’s four game suspension.
“It could be a number of things,” Hill agreed. “I’m not going to blame that on Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. There’s a lot of things going on here in the U.S.”
Whatever the reason for the decline, the bottom line is that Kaepernick’s protests are wildly unpopular, with 47 percent of Americans opposing them overall. Among those polled above age 55, 65 percent opposed the protests.
Most damning of all however, was when those polled were asked if it would affect their behavior in any way. In response to that, 44 percent of NFL fans said they’d stop watching games if Kaepernick and other players continued their protests.
What’s it gonna take for the NFL to act?
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]