NFL, Players Union Meet to Discuss and Strategize Social Activism

AP Tim Ireland
AP Photo/Tim Ireland
New York, NY

With great sadness, we must report that the rumors the NFL was going to seriously entertain having an “Activist Awareness” month. In which the league would celebrate the protests of anti-American players, are apparently true.

The National Football League has met with the players union, the NFLPA, to discuss the national anthem protests that have become a almost a staple of pregame ceremonies across the league.

The two organizations issued a joint press release on Tuesday saying that the two are “engaged in a productive conversation,” according to Pro Football Talk. The statement read, “The NFL & NFLPA met today to discuss the important issue of social activism by NFL players. Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, Eric Winston, Robert Kraft, John Mara, Art Rooney & other player leaders engaged in a productive conversation. We’re all committed to an ongoing dialogue.”

Before the anthem protests grew to encompass nearly the entire league, a group of four players sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Goodell, to request more league support for social activism.

The 10-page letter was sent in mid-September by Seahawks player Michael Bennett, the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith, and retired player Anquan Boldin.

The recent meeting to discuss social activism by players comes after more than a year of plummeting ratings, since former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick began the national anthem protests in 2016.

Network TV ratings have suffered, sometimes falling to all-time lows since last year, but this year’s ratings have been particularly bad. Sunday Night Football ratings fell an additional five percent over last year’s Week 4 games hitting a new season low.

Week One and Two were not much better.

Week Two hit the network’s lowest mark since 1998, and the first two games of the season are down double-digits at a multi-year low.

Week One’s season opener between the Chiefs and the Patriots was also a disappointment, drawing only a 14.6 rating for NBC. Last year’s season opener earned a 16.5 rating for the Panthers and Broncos.

Polls of fans correspond with the crashing ratings.

Just this week a Yahoo! poll found that 62 percent of respondents said they would watch fewer NFL games because of the constant anti-American protests.

The Yahoo! poll was an echo of several other recent polls that found fans turning off their TVs in droves.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.