After two consecutive seasons of falls in the television audience, the NFL continues to face declining fan interest, as most Americans, particularly whites and Republicans, oppose players kneeling in protest of racism during the national anthem.
According to a new poll by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, fewer people say they follow the league closely today than they did four years ago, and the biggest downfall seems to be those fans who disagree with players who demonstrate awareness of social issues , criminal justice reform and police brutality against minorities.
Of the 900 registered voters, 52 percent said they are closely following the league, which fell from 58 percent in 2014. However, the margin of error was plus or minus 3.27 percentage points, so that figure in itself it may not be too revealing
Other findings help paint a more specific image.
Of those who participated in the NBC News / Wall Street Journal survey, only 10 percent of Republicans and only 38 percent of white respondents said that protests are appropriate
The peaceful demonstrations, which began in 2016, were mainly a reaction to the death of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement. Players are also working to raise awareness about other issues, such as criminal justice reform and educational inequality
Men over 50 continue to play the game closer than any other demographic group despite their own generally negative opinions about the protests, according to The Wall Street Journal. Those who have stopped watching the game completely tend to be those with the most unfavorable protests.
Namely, Republicans are the most dissatisfied with the game. In 2014, only 16 percent of Republicans said they did not follow soccer closely, but that number has soared to 39 percent in the latest data.
Only 10 percent of Republicans and only 38 percent of white respondents said they felt the protests were appropriate.
But not everyone is opposed to the protests: 72 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, a critical demographic, believe that demonstrations are appropriate.
A Carolina Panthers fan holds up his poster in protest of then Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers in September 2016
Regardless, the survey still reflects a lower audience base than what we measured in 2014, "Republican pollster Micah Roberts told the Journal. "It's not going in the right direction."
Respondents were not directly asked if their viewing habits changed due to protests, but Roberts, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Fred Yang, believes it is a logical conclusion based on the subgroups that saw the biggest changes since 2014 .
"The anthem protests are having an effect on the audience," he told the Journal.
The NFL is still working for a resolution on a national anthem policy. In May, the owners announced a new set of rules that allows players to remain in the locker room during the anthem, while requiring team personnel in the field to rise. Teams with personnel that violate the new policy would have been subject to fines, and those teams would be entitled to fine their own players as they see fit.
However, since then, the league and the NFL Players Association have been meeting in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to work on a compromise on the issue. According to an ESPN report, both parties are "encouraged". for the dialogue, but the resolution is not expected to be taken by the first event next week.
The protests began in 2016 when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (No. 7) refused to represent the national anthem as a way to raise awareness about inequality and police brutality against minorities. Now he's involved in a lawsuit accusing the NFL of collusion
Roger Goodell remains a target for Donald Trump and the NFL fans who oppose the protests
Trump has been talking and tweeting about the NFL protests for almost a year.
Despite declining interest, the NFL games still represent 37 of the 50 best broadcasts of 2017 with the largest audience.
Leaving politics aside, the survey found that fewer white spectators were tuning in to the games. While 58 percent of non-white Democrats said they still follow the league closely, only 50 percent of White Democrats are avid viewers, representing a 59 percent decrease in 2014.
COLIN KAEPERNICK'S DEMAND AGAINST THE NFL'S HEADS BEFORE THE COURT
Colin Kaepernick says the NFL owners conspired against him to keep him out of the league since he chose not to honor his contract with the 49ers in March 2017.
By Kayla Brantley for DailyMail.com
Colin Kaepernick's collusion suit against the NFL will be put on trial after the league's request to dismiss the grievance was rejected.
In what is Kaepernick's biggest win so far in this case, a referee denied the league's request on Tuesday to rule out the marshal's claims that the owners conspired to keep him out of the league due to their protests over the injustice. Social.
The former 49ers quarterback argues that the owners have conspired to keep him off the NFL list since he came to free agency in 2017, after the widespread peaceful protests began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Kaepernick argues that the owners violated their collective bargaining agreement with the players by conspiring to keep him away from the teams.
The case depends on whether the owners worked together instead of individually deciding not to sign Kaepernick.
A similar claim is still pending for the no-contract safety Eric Reid, who played with Kaepernick in San Francisco and was the first player to join him to protest.
President Donald Trump has addressed the issue, beginning with a rally in September in Alabama when he referred to players who proved to be "children of b ******".
In early August, Trump demanded on Twitter that the commissioner of $ 40,000,000 & # 39; The NFL suspends players for a whole season if they kneel during the national anthem more than once.
"The National Anthem Debate of the NFL is alive and well again, I can not believe it!" Trump wrote in the tweet.
The protests began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to represent the national anthem as a way to raise awareness about inequality and police brutality against minorities.
The demonstrations were mainly a reaction to the death of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement.
Despite the controversy, the NFL teams remain divided at a record $ 8.1 billion in the latter.
ESPN reported earnings after Green Bay Packers, a public company, disclosed its financial information for 2017, revealing that the franchise had received $ 255 million in revenue sharing.
That means that 32 teams divided about $ 8.1 billion, and that figure does not represent the league's total revenue, which was estimated at $ 14 billion for 2017, the most in any professional sports league, according to Bloomberg. According to league rules, the NFL shares just over half of its revenue among all teams.
The NFL was a nonprofit tax-exempt organization until 2015, when it changed its status with the IRS.
The money comes mainly from the revenues of television packages in the league, according to ESPN. That's an increase of 4.9 percent, due in part to the rising value of the NFL Thursday Night Football franchise.
According to Bloomberg, the NFL added another $ 50 million for its transmission agreement with Amazon, which the league has extended for another two years and $ 130 million. Other additional gains came from the incremental increases that were previously incorporated into the NFL's television offerings.
Most importantly for the NFL, Packers president Mark Murphy said the lingering effect of some issues, including the controversy over the national anthem, did not hurt the results.
Buffalo Bills players kneel during the national anthem before the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017.