The National Football League’s ratings continue to collapse after nearly two-months of players refusing to stand for the US national anthem; with new figures showing viewership for the 2017 season down nearly 20% from 2015.
According to new data published by Sporting News, the NFL’s seventh week averaged 15.1 million viewers; down over 5% from the same period last season and nearly 19% from 2015. The stunning decline show a league in crisis as owners and officials struggle to regain furious fans after weeks of protests.
“Viewership numbers are lagging for a variety of reasons, not least the ongoing protests during the national anthem that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began in 2016,” writes Sporting News. “Fans are still angry about Kaepernick’s continued unemployment as well as what’s seen as the growing politicization of the NFL.”
“In addition, President Donald Trump continues to attack the league for not forcing all players to stand during the anthem. Commissioner Roger Goodell and player reps met last week to seek a way forward, but there wasn’t much progress, and players continue to protest,” adds the author.
During week seven, nearly two dozen professional athletes “took a knee” during the performance of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ with some networks opting to black-out the national anthem entirely.