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NYT: The NFL Is Now One Of The Most Divisive Brands In America

The National Football League, once a bastion of apolitical entertainment, has become one of the most divisive brands in the country, according to The New York Times. They also said that it’s unclear whether the protests have fueled the NFL’s decline this year. They also contribute divisiveness to each side reading articles that cater to their biases. This whole controversy began last year when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit, and eventually take a knee, during the Star-Spangled Banner. 


About three weeks ago — before President Trump said that N.F.L. owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem — Democrats and Republicans held relatively similar views about the league. About 60 percent said they viewed it favorably, while about 20 percent said they viewed it unfavorably, according to daily online surveys conducted by Morning Consult, a polling, media and technology company.

Since Mr. Trump’s remarks, though, many of his supporters have changed their attitudes.

Trump voters are now much more likely to say that they view the N.F.L. negatively, reflecting a sharp change around Sept. 23, when Mr. Trump criticized the players at a speech in Alabama. The views of Hillary Clinton voters have not changed appreciably over the last few weeks.


In other polls, Americans’ views on the N.F.L. protests depend largely on how the questions are asked, and whether they emphasize patriotism, free speech or race. And while N.F.L. ratings are down compared with previous years, protests are probably not the main reason.


It’s hard to know if or when Americans’ views of the N.F.L. will go back to how they were before these protests. President Trump has continued to fuel the controversy, directing insulting tweets this week at Jemele Hill of ESPN; the N.F.L. players who protested; and the league itself. On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game when some players on the visiting team knelt during the national anthem. (President Trump said he directed Mr. Pence to do so.)

But a lesson of outrage in 2017 is that its lifespan is always decreasing.


Recall the national distress in April when a video of a passenger being dragged from an overbooked United flight went viral. In the weeks that followed, Americans’ views toward United were overwhelmingly negative; in one survey, many even said they would pay extra not to fly with the airline. Now, six months later, people view the airline almost as favorably as they did before the episode took place.

First, the United Airlines flight fiasco and this is entirely different. One involved a man getting the crap kicked out of him and being dragged off an airplane. That’s a public relations nightmare. The national anthem protests is more of a punch to the gut, as people see it as disrespecting our flag, our troops, and our veterans. No one likes unpatriotic antics. United was one incident. The protests for the Star-Spangled Bannerare ongoing and it’s leeching into other sports as well at the high school and collegiate level. Third week ticket sales are down almost 20 percent, almost double from last year. NFL approval ratings are down, 34 percent are less likely to watch the NFL due to the protests, and 72 percent feel that Colin Kaepernick’s antics are unpatriotic. That alone shows that this stunt is a losing battle for the players who partake. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, while not saying he will enforce a standing rule for the anthem, conceded in an email to owners that everyone should stand for the Star-Spangled Banner. The owners themselves have data noting that the protests are contributing to some of the erasure of their bottom lines. 


Frankly, the NFL went to war with Trump and, like everyone else, they lost. 

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