Racism Is Turning Fans Away from the NFL As Ratings Continue to Drop

The Black Loop, November 25, 2017

NFL fans have countless numbers of reasons to stop watching professional football this season — and many have. According to an article in The New York Post, week 11’s viewership was down by 1 million compared to last year’s average to date. Declines over the previous three weeks hovered around a 5.6 to 5.7 percent drop. Analysts have pointed to the concussion settlement, injuries, contract holdouts, and suspensions, but the darkest cloud over the NFL is racism.

For starters, Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job because of his national anthem protests. The purpose of those was to shine a light on police brutality and racial injustice. His collusion case against the league owners is punctuated by Texans owner Bob McNair’s assertion about anthem protests that, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

Because nearly all of the owners are White and some 70 percent of the players are Black, the notion that owners seem to view players as their property is akin to slavery. That is a metaphor which is lost on no one.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t making matters any better. Threatening his team to stand during the anthem or else risk being cut, benched, or traded has not been received well. Donald Trump’s tweets in favor of Jones’ mandate haven’t helped either. And then there’s that video from 2013 which just surfaced where Jones made a racially-charged comment to a soon-to-be bride named Jennifer. [“Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding,” Jones said. “Now you know he’s with a Black girl tonight, don’t you?”]

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The fans have grown weary. Coupled with the fact that many on both sides of the anthem issue had already made the decision to boycott the NFL this season, the owners and execs have given fans even more reasons to look away. Slowly but surely, football fans are tuning in to watch players in the collegiate ranks — their ratings are up. Maybe the league should re-think this whole racism thing before it’s too late.

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