A Yahoo survey says that 44 percent of Americans report a likelihood of shutting off NFL games should players continue to kneel for the national anthem.
The poll result follows Nielsen ratings showing that many fans already do something else beside watching football this season. Monday Night Football endured its lowest ratings earlier this week since moving to ESPN a decade ago and Sunday games also suffer year-to-year losses, albeit smaller than the double-digit decline witnessed at the Worldwide Leader in Sports. The absence of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning may help explain viewership losses. But another quarterback also not taking a single snap this young regular season undoubtedly suppresses ratings as well.
Almost a third of respondents expressed support for Colin Kaepernick’s protests of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Nearly half opposed his demonstrations. About a fifth of respondents didn’t know or didn’t care about the protests.
The backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers began his pregame demonstrations during the preseason. He cited police brutality and racism as reasons for sitting and kneeling for the national anthem. He followed up his initial sit-down strike against the song by donning a Fidel Castro t-shirt at a press event, wearing socks at practice depicting policemen as pigs, and telling reporters that cosmetologists receive more thorough training than cops.
Roughly three in five fans told Yahoo that Kaepernick chose the wrong manner to protest.
Although less than a third of Americans support Kaepernick’s protest, a majority of African Americans and a plurality of young Americans endorse his demonstrations. Slightly less than a quarter of whites support Kaepernick refusing to rise for “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Americans split on the proper response by the NFL. The survey counted 42 percent desiring the league stamp out the protests and 42 percent wanting the league to do nothing. Kaepernick remains 100 percent committed to staying down for the song. The 49ers travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks this Sunday.