TV networks are taking a stand against the NFL kneeling players and their disrespect towards the American flag. The NFL’s partner TV networks have decided not to show any protests during the national anthem at all anymore, reports Sporting News.
After the past six weeks of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, there has been outrage from many different sources, including the President of the United States, and TV providers have found a way to shut it completely down.
This past Sunday, there were literally no shots of NFL players kneeling or standing during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Instead CBS, Fox, and NBC chose to stay in commercial breaks during the pregame presentation of the flag and anthem.
Once they returned from commercial, network play-by-play announcers either say nothing or very little about what the players did on the field. ESPN announced that they also planned on following a similar playbook.
TV networks have traditionally not shown the playing of the anthem, except before the Super bowl. But now with all of the media hype and interest around it, the networks have changed their policies this season.
NBC’s first shot of the 2017 season showed quarterback Marcus Peters sitting out the anthem before the Chiefs-Patriots Week 1 season opener. ESPN proceeded to show the protests in weeks three and four, with all the NFL TV partners showing the anthem live in week three when hundreds of players, coaches, and owners kneeled or linked arms on the field.
But the TV partners had good reason to worry though. Bu week five, the NFL TV numbers were down 7.2 percent, according to Nielsen data. That drop came on top of a seven percent downturn from last season, with games in the 2016 season averaging about 16.371 million viewers to the 15.1 million viewers seen this season.
Fans have been fighting back as well with social media campaigns like #NoKaepernickNoNFL for those who support Colin Kaepernick to get a job again on a team, or those who say #BoycottNFL who think that the protests are unpatriotic and a disgrace to the country.
“For the six week TV ratings they brought mixed news. CBS says overnight TV ratings for Steelers-Chiefs rose seven percent from Cowboys-Bengals last season. Overnight ratings for Giants-Broncos on NBC rose 21 percent from Colts-Texans the year before. According to SportsBusiness Daily, the Steelers-Chiefs 14.0 overnight is CBS’s best figure to date — but is the lowest Week 6 national window, regardless of network, since 2006.”
I guess viewers will see next week whether or not the TV partner’s decided to stick with the “see no protests, hear no protests” approach and hopefully make the movement irrelevant so that people can go back to what the NFL was meant for: playing football.