Remember how many people said they’d never watch the NFL again after Black players taking a knee? They lied, according to the data.
Fans took to social media and screamed from the stands about how they would forever shun/boycott the NFL because of the players’ demonstration or because Kaepernick and Reid were being blackballed at a time when Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid were leading a growing movement that led to players, coaches, and even some team owners taking a knee in the name of racism and police brutality.
It was all a fabrication.
According to Sports Business Journal, NFL games accounted for 75 of the top 100 most-watched television programs in the United States last year, with no other pro sports league making the top 100.
The Top 5 most-watched programs in 2021 were the Super Bowl, NFC Championship Game, AFC Championship Game, Raiders/Cowboys Thanksgiving game, and Buccaneers/Saints NFC divisional game. Eleven events from the Summer Olympics, seven college football games, and two college basketball games were among the other sports broadcasts that made the Top 100. The NBA, MLB, and NHL were all denied invitations.
So much for Kaepernick’s so-called «rating drop.»
In 2017, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus commented on the effect of kneeling on viewership, «We did a study and it was relatively private information, to be honest with you.» «However, I believe that if you look at some of the reasons why NFL viewership was down last year, [kneeling] is a cause that a significant number of people noted.
It’s something about the football game broadcast that they don’t find appealing or captivating. What was the magnitude of the influence? I’m not entirely sure. But I believe that was one of the elements that contributed to the minor drop in ratings last year.»
Nonetheless, McManus was astute enough to recognize that the «reasons» for some viewers’ lack of interest wouldn’t last.
«Listen, I believe the ratings will improve. However, you must consider this in context: the NFL ratings are still, by far and away, the most appealing property in all of television. The fact that ratings were down slightly is cause for concern, but no one is panicking and declaring that the NFL is losing popularity or supremacy in comparison to what else is on television.»
Football, like bigotry and voter suppression, is a uniquely American pastime. It’s why the Super Bowl is the only thing that the entire country does at the same time. People will always tune in to a sport that has such a stronghold on a country, regardless of whether athletes are kneeling or standing for a racist song before kickoff.