Well, it looks like ESPN, Fox Sports and the NFL have one alternative for dealing with the NFL protesters….just don’t broadcast them. That’s right! Since the NFL and the NFL protesters can’t come to an agreement and Americans are sick of watching the protests why not just don’t even show them.
Fox and ESPN said that they will return to their former practice of skipping the anthem during this weekend’s and Monday night’s NFL games, the Washington Examiner reported.
The anthem became video-worthy for the two networks when a massive increase in player protests followed President Donald Trump’s condemnation of athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem. Since that time, the number of players refusing to stand has decreased, although many teams that do stand for the anthem link arms or have individual players who protest through raised fists or other gestures.
Fans have been showing their disgust with the protests by tuning out and turning off the NFL.
The NFL’s average TV audience is down 7 percent from 2016 and 18 percent from 2015 through the first five weeks of the season, Sporting News reported Friday.
The NFL is in a “very volatile and dangerous place,” said ESPN reporter Adam Schefter on Thursday’s Mike & Mike morning show.
“It is very sensitive. It is chipping away at the popularity of the sport,” he added. “There are people who are turned off to what’s happening. There are people cancelling their DirecTV subscriptions. The business of the game, by the way, also affects the players. Because for every dollar that the league is collecting, 48 cents go to the players.”
NFL policy currently says players “should” stand for the anthem, but the NFL has fought back against Trump for criticizing player protests.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet next week with the head of the NFL Players Association and team owners to discuss the protests, which have come to overshadow what happens on the field.
Meanwhile, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said that Goodell “has a plan that he is going to present to owners about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country,” according to Reuters.
“What we don’t have is a proposal that changes our policy, we don’t have something that mandates anything. That’s clear,” Lockhart said.
One thing is clear: Trump is not letting go of his effort to get all players to stand for the anthem.
“Before watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will,” Trump said Friday during his weekly address.
“We honor the flag, we pay tribute to the men and women who have given everything for its defense. We renew the bonds of love and loyalty we owe to our fellow citizens—to every American who looks to the Stars and Stripes and sees woven into its fabric their past, their future, and their place in our great American family,” he added.
He continued, “So this month, as we remember the patriots who fought to win our glorious Independence, let us renew our commitment to love our country, protect our citizens, and ensure that this will always be the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Amen! All Americans should renew their commitment to love our country and respect our military. Without our military we wouldn’t be ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’.
Even though ESPN and Fox will not broadcast the national anthem, CBS declined to comment and NBC did not respond.
Just this past week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to team executives saying that the dispute “is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game.”
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” Goodell wrote. “We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
But just when you thought the NFL players would stand and honor our flag, our country and our military….the NFL said,
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the anthem is not accurate. As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together… Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
So much for that.
So what do you do if you need to keep the advertisers happy and try to increase viewers for the NFL games, you just don’t show the national anthem and the NFL protesters.
Well, time will tell if this strategy works or not. Does ESPN and Fox really think more Americans will return to watch the NFL games, just because they don’t show the protests? Highly doubtful.
I have to say I stand with NFL owner Jerry Jones, as he said, if NFL players don’t want to stand, they don’t have to play. Of course, the Cowboys didn’t play Sunday, but did hold a team meeting. Any protests by any disgruntled Cowboys, we wouldn’t have seen anyway.
I think most Americans would agree, NFL players have the right to protest. However, it’s not appropriate for anyone to kneel during the national anthem. If NFL players want to protest they should do it on their OWN time. In addition, just because ESPN and Fox don’t show the protests, doesn’t mean viewers will return to watching NFL games.
H/T Western Journalism