Anti-American Anthem Protests Top Reasons Why Football Fans Tuned Out

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid
AP Photo/Mike McCarn

A recent poll of lapsed football fans has revealed that the string of anti-American national anthem protests topped the list of reasons they stopped watching the NFL last year.

J.D. Power surveyed over 9,200 football fans who attended at least one football, basketball, or hockey game and asked whether they watched fewer games last year and why, ESPN reported.

Twenty-six percent of the respondents said that they stopped watching sports, citing the anti-American protests started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The next highest number, 24 percent, said they stopped watching because of the record of problems with domestic violence seen in several of America’s pro sports leagues.

Another 16 percent said their attention was diverted by the political scene and the 2016 elections.

A small five percent said they stopped watching sports because they canceled their cable subscription.

The poll fits well with reports earlier this year that the NFL’s ratings never recovered once Kaepernick began his protests that spread across the NFL and beyond.

In January, for instance, the NFL’s TV ratings had fallen in nearly every demographic, and across all regions for the 2016/2017 season to that point. The ratings crash coincided with the season of Black Lives Matter protests against the United States during the playing of the national anthem, made ubiquitous by San Francisco 49ers’ Kaepernick.

The month before it dawned even on members of the liberal sports media that the NFL’s developing ratings crash was due to Kaepernick’s protests.

At the end of last season, Kaepernick declared his free agency and left the 49ers but has since not been able to find a single other NFL team to hire him on. He has thus far been sidelined as the NFL gears up for the coming season.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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