American politics have become some of the most polarizing ever and we are seeing this affect entertainment and now sports, represented by the recent NFL protests otherwise known as #takeaknee. To quote Andrew Breitbart “Politics is downstream from culture”. Say what you will about Andrew’s rather conservative views, that quote stayed with me as something that can definitely ring true today.
On Sunday the 24th I was greeted to a onslaught of twitter notifications, that woke me up, although they all pertained to the topic at hand. I was aware of the infamous Trump tweets regarding the NFL and White House visits before the Sunday games and was wondering how players would react. As I watched the games I saw the players kneel, I saw the outcry and praise on social media and I couldn’t help but have some thoughts about it. It was good to see players exercising their 1st amendment right and standing up for what they believe in, all the power to them. I remember Colin Kaepernick’s protest last year when he sat, and eventually kneeled in protest of the national anthem. Colin’s protest compared to the ones of past week caused me to become confused, I felt a conflict of identities surrounding the protest. What was the true purpose of the protest? I saw people arguing about this on twitter for many days, was it about the original cause championed by Colin Kaepernick which was police brutality against African Americans and the struggles of being a minority in America. or was it this new identity, speaking out against the tweets and comments about Trump wanting NFL owners to fire “the players who don’t stand for the national anthem”. A conflict of Identities for the protest is something that puzzled me because one cause simply seemed more genuine than the other. While the backlash against Donald Trump’s presidency is extremely prevalent and real, the protest against his comments felt overblown and slightly fake compared to the protest against police brutality. There’s no doubt Donald Trump said controversial things during his campaign and during his current presidency, so at a point I’ve got used to it.
Yet, this sunday the 1st of October, the number of players protesting has drastically decreased, I can’t give a clear answer to why it decreased, but I can speculate-I do have some thoughts. Fans reacted to the protests like a lot expected, some supported the protest, however no matter how many fans were happy with the protests NFL sunday and monday night football ratings took noticeable dips this past week. Deadline says:
“In metered market numbers, the primetime matchup that saw the Washington Redskins beat the Oakland Raiders 27-10 snared an 11.6/20, the worst SNF has performed this season so far. It’s an 8% dip from the early numbers of last week’s game, Atlanta’s 34-23 win over Green Bay. Amid cheers and boos from fans at FedEx Field in Maryland last night, the third week of the SNF season declined 10% from early numbers of the comparable game of last year on September 25, 2016.”
The hit in ratings last week could be a number of factors such as the countless hurricanes across the country and the fact that NFL ratings have been very unpredictable over the last 10 years but overall they have gone down, however leaving out some fans backlash against anthem protests causing them to possibly boycott the NFL and its TV broadcasts would be irresponsible. While the protests may be short lived, the effect will carry on for a long time to come.
Dominic. “‘Sunday Night Football’ Ratings Down Again On Day Of Player Protests.” Deadline, Penske Media, 25 Sept. 2017, deadline.com/2017/09/redskins-sunday-night-football-ratings-nfl-protests-star-trek-discovery-donald-trump-nbc-1202176141/.