We already know that NFL attendance will suffer during COVID 19.

COVID 19 isn’t the only reason why NFL ratings may suffer. The NFL has joined hands with Black Lives Matter with a league-wide theme. The NFL commissioner and the teams’ owners have signed on to focus on ending racism in America. Ending racism and discrimination are important for those on the left, in the center, and on the right. It’s a must!

One of the most controversial aspects of the League’s position is players and coaches kneeling during the nation’s National Anthem.  Many Veterans have vowed to stop supporting the NFL over this issue.

Some 4 million Americans have earned the title of Veteran. Those who haven’t served are still patriots and have also expressed concerns over kneeling down during the anthem. These are every-day Americans. Not just Veterans, peace officers, current military personnel, or political types.

Those that don’t support players taking a knee during the anthem have decided not to watch the games,  not to attend the games, not to buy NFL team gear, and to stop following their favorite teams on radio and TV shows that talk NFL football.

The day after the NFL season opener happened to be the 19th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Talk radio and television personalities are calling for NFL boycotts.

Most of those commentators will share they don’t support racism and they acknowledge the USA still has work to do to heal the wounds of racism. They just can’t support players, coaches, and owners taking a knee or staying in locker rooms during the anthem.

While Veterans  have been vocal about opposing  kneeling during the anthem, they oppose racism and want healing and unity. Veterans served in a fully integrated and diverse military that relies on teamwork, trust , and  mutual respect. Racism has no place in our military.

Law enforcement members past and present have also been disappointed that the NFL appears to vilify  all peace officers rather than the very few officers who have taken lives or injured people of color. Protecting NFL players at all stadiums are peace officers. Ironically, these are the same peace officers players are protesting.

The NFL has sponsors like USAA and The Navy Federal Credit Union. These business models rely on military service members and veterans to be their clients. Will these advertisers be forced to pull advertising in NFL games? Will members of both organizations demand that these two organizations pull their NFL advertising?

Will the Defense Department pull flyovers and military personnel from pre game and half time events? The Defense Department has also been a major advertiser with the NFL for years. Those ads were designed to appeal to possible recruits. Most recruits come from the so called “flyover states” and they may have tuned out the NFL.

If NFL ratings suffer it won’t take long to tell. Each game is tracked for viewers and how well the ads perform during commercial breaks.

No matter how you feel about race relations in America you can likely agree that sports has been an escape from reality. The NFL and other professional and amateur sports helped unite us.

Perhaps the NFL’s approach to addressing racism will help bring us together.  But that’s not a sure thing. Fans at Thursday evening’s game booed the players during pregame. NFL players didn’t understand why they were booed. Just a guess but fans just want to see football and not millionaires holding hands on a football field.

What happens during NFL pregame action, for the time being, may overshadow the game results. Will more teams sit in locker rooms? Take a knee on the field? Our NFL players are role models and, as such, they can make a difference in their cities and community.

We can still stand together shoulder to shoulder for the flag — and stand shoulder to shoulder to put an end to bigotry, racism, and anarchy.

Image Sources

  • NFL: Shutterstock