A recent piece by Conservative Review TV host Steve Deace warns the NFL that if it doesn’t quash the constant anti-American protests during the national anthem, it risks putting a permanent dent in its “shield,” a dent that could further alienate it’s once loyal fan base.
In his August 28 article, Deace noted that the National Football League is one of the most quintessential American institutions we currently have in America today:
I believe we’re so passionate about football because it embodies everything we love about American exceptionalism. Merit is rewarded, not punished. Masculinity is celebrated, not feminized. People of various beliefs and backgrounds — a melting pot, if you will — must unify for a common goal for the team to be successful. In football, fortune favors the bold, just as it once did in the American frontier.
Still, he warns against “political correctness tearing down another masculine meritocracy” with its feminized attempt to scare American kids away from playing the sport over injuries and other left-wing lines of attack.
However, the newest attack by the left on our national game is the social justice warrior protests during the playing of the national anthem begun last year by former San Francisco 49er second string quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Deace fears that these protests may ring the death knell for the thus far invincible sport.
While admitting that some of the players may be sincere in their stated purposes for their protests, Deace insists that the national anthem is neither the time nor the place for such things. Indeed, Deace notes that players are actually hurting their cause by indulging protests during the anthem: “In fact, those players who have sincere convictions are alienating people from their cause by going this route.”
Deace reviewed recent polls showing that the NFL’s once strong TV ratings are taking a dive and he also reports on a survey that found that fans stopped watching the NFL because of Colin Kaepernick’s constant social justice warrior protests.
The CRTV host goes on to recount the millions of subscribers that ESPN has lost, some say because of the far left political ideology that network executives have infused into the network’s sports reporting.
It all brings Deace to ask, “Are Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL paying attention?”
Neither the concussion problem, players’ criminal behavior off the field, or cheating scandals on the field have put a dent in the NFL’s sporting dominance. Its logo is appropriately a shield, for the NFL’s brand has been impenetrable. For 20 years the league didn’t have a franchise in Los Angeles, the country’s second largest market, and flourished nevertheless. No other American pro sports league could survive that void, let alone grow regardless.
But if the NFL continues to permit the SJW invasion of its sport, that shield could be tested, as last year’s ratings decline indicates. See, there are numerous anthem protests happening during college football games as well, but that’s different. Most Americans assume college players are on a liberal campus and/or exploring their own voice for the first time. Plus, they’re not paid, at least not above the table.
Deace makes another salient point, the average player makes $2 million a year, yet only one in four NFL fans make anywhere near $100,000 a year. The radio talker points out that many NFL fans live paycheck to paycheck and look to the NFL as a reward for a week of hard work and a bit of escapism. This gap is telling when it comes to how fans relate to the NFL’s social justice warriors:
Thus, the last thing they’re going to tolerate is someone making the gross domestic product of third world country lecturing them that America sucks and everyone’s a racist. They go to the NFL for refuge from societal problems they don’t have the luxury of whining about, not to be lectured to. Granted, those protesting would say their message is more nuanced than that, but that also displays arrogance in that they don’t even know their own audience.
The Conservative Review TV host warns anthem protesting players that they “come off as pampered celebrities” to the fans, which strips away much of the impact their protests hope to achieve.
Deace ends with a firm warning and some advice:
If these players truly believe they have something meaningful to say, then they should use a leftist tool like ESPN to say it, but say it away from the field instead of turning the field itself into a political platform. The NFL is violating the first two rules of business — the customer is always right and don’t crap where you live — and has already suffered financially as a result. If it continues to go down this road, we may find out that shield isn’t as impenetrable as we once thought.
Deace makes a series of important points about the NFL, the league would do well to listen.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.