A new poll of NFL fans shows that many believe the league’s TV ratings have cratered because of the now ubiquitous anti-American national anthem protests happening each week across the league.
With viewership down at least 12 percent over last season, the sports world has been considering many explanations for the ratings slump including the proliferation of Internet-based services and even a lack of exciting matchups. But many more continue to speculate that the Black Lives Matter-inspired protests have taken its toll on viewers.
Consequently, the new Seton Hall Sports Poll finds that fully 56 percent of respondents feel that ratings are down because of the constant protests against the country indulged by players during the anthem.
The results of the poll stand in contrast to the claims of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who recently insisted that the anti-American protests inflicted no real effect on the league’s TV ratings.
When asked about the ratings crash, Goodell dismissed the idea of the protests as a factor, saying, “It’s something that I don’t think there’s a single reason for. I really don’t. We look at all those factors. Everyone’s got theories.”
The new poll of 841 sports fans taken on October 24, 25, and 26 also revealed other reasons the fans gave for the ratings decline. Fifty percent said they imagined the presidential election distracted many fans and 47 percent said interest waned in the NFL because of the controversies over domestic violence cases involving players.
Other factors in the “yes” or “no” poll included oversaturation of games (44%), the start of the baseball postseason (39%), and controversies over head injuries (33%).
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