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NFL Boycott Declared For Veterans Day Weekend, Tens Of Thousands Vow Support

September 28th 2017

lonely football in stadium

Thousands upset over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem are planning a boycott of the NFL.

Hundreds of NFL players, owners and coaches decided to link arms, take a knee or sit out the anthem completely in Sunday’s games after President Trump repeatedly tweeted about the issue over the weekend. At a rally in Alabama, the president also called a player who kneels during the national anthem a “son of a bitch.” The tweets and comments ignited a firestorm of debate in the media and in the NFL.

Are NFL players' kneeling protests hurting TV ratings and even, perhaps, driving down TV stocks?

The answer is likely to be as hotly contested as an NFL line of scrimmage. NFL ratings are down for the just-started season, just as they were last season, and the stocks of the major networks that have broadcast NFL games are falling, too. President Trump has linked the NFL's ratings, which he called "massively, massively" down, and players kneeling during the anthem, suggesting they were turning fans away.

The explanation for why the league's ratings are down is far more complicated. For a start, ratings for a variety of sports broadcasts have declined. NASCAR and the NBA have also drawn fewer TV viewers — likely influenced by huge shifts in the way fans watch sports and by other factors that may have drawn their attention away, from hurricanes to last year's drama-packed presidential election.

Before Trump's remarks on the NFL and his exhortation last weekend that fans boycott games if players didn't stand during the anthem, fans may have already tuned out in sympathy with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who says he used the spotlight to protest oppression of black people by the criminal justice system. Others may have backed away because they disagreed with Kaepernick's actions, as Trump suggests. And still others may have dropped the NFL for a totally separate reason: because of mounting evidence that many players have suffered severe brain disease, TV analysts say.


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