NFL AT A Crossroad
We now have players in the NFL calling for a general strike if the league puts an end to their protesting, you have in response to Trump calling out players different players have first tried to go and tweet to attack Trump, in example SI’s Kellen Becoats has compiled the list of tweets. Reggie Bush wrote that Trump is the “definition of a clown” while Zach Brown urged Trump to “stay in [his] place” since “football has nothing to do with [you]”—a statement that seems to address Trump’s demand that ESPN apologize for Jemele Hill’s sharp rebuke of Trump. Several other players responded to Trump’s speech by reiterating their support for Kaepernick, with Husain Abdullah using Trump’s comment about owners being his “friends” to opine, “now we know why Kap ain’t playin.” You now hear grumblings of a possible strike if players are pushed to stand for the national anthem, you even have one threatening to quit if forced to stand:https://www.si.com/tech-media/2017/09/17/jemele-hill-tweets-espn-discipline
What these players and the ones threatening to strike fail to realize is Trump is in a place where he speaks for the citizens of the country, his job is to take the pulse of the nation and react to it. If you are a Trump supporter or hate him with a passion, it really does not change what he is doing, he listened to an overwhelming outrage by Americans to what they see as disrespecting the flag, nation and the men and women who fought and died for our nation. The players can say that is not what they are doing, what they don’t realize and they should before they find themselves and the NFL in some serious trouble, the fan’s perspective is all that matters. The players play because fans watch them, the networks pay the billions they pay out to broadcast the games because they know they will draw in a viewership, and the advertisers are willing to pay enormous sums to broadcast during the games because they know the size of the audience gives them the best chance at reaching millions of people.
Now, if the players insist on going on with this, you could find three things happening. First, the fans in reaction to the protest, they are unhappy already, if they players continue this, ignore the feelings of the fans, they can stop purchasing tickets, stop buying any NFL goods, could also start watching something else on TV, and remember the Baseball strike, they still haven’t recovered from that damage that did to their loss of fans, and they were seeking more money, if you strike showing the fans you care nothing of their feelings in this, you risk more than just losing them, you could face a backlash of boycotts of advertisers, the NFL is dependent on the fans to vote to build them billion plus dollar stadiums to keep competitive, these are the same fans you are flipping a finger to, have fun getting any votes from them to earmark stadium improvements or building a new stadium if you need one. And for you that say there is fan support for this, that would be incorrect, here are some polls:
Sept 29th, 48% approve, 36% approve, the rest didn’t have a opinion
Sept 30th, 52% disapprove, 38% approve
Oct 5th, 52% disapprove, 31 approve the protests
Oct 11 52% against, 33% support
We not only see an increase of disapproval, but as time has progressed we have also seen the support of these protests have fallen.
And not only that, look at the ratings of the NFL, you see a drop of this year from last of 7% on average, but worse, you also see a drop in ticket sales down by 17% from the same time period, also, if you compare from 2015 with today, there is a 18 overall drop of TV viewership, and if the protest continue you could see this even start to slide much further with alarming rates. http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/nfl-tv-television-ratings-down-numbers-national-anthem-protests/l2x7dhlkuubk1tbeftag9ttis
The other problem could come in the fact that the government is there to do the will of the people, they have for years waved antitrust legal challenges to the NFL, the reason the government has done this is fan outrage would be overwhelming if they had tried to take the NFL to court, if you have fans against the actions of the NFL, you could then drop the hold on antitrust legal challenges and proceed to break the stranglehold the NFL has. Further, local governments then may determine that giving tax breaks to a team so as to stay in the area, start cutting off all breaks on use of city property (stadiums), for example the Green Bay Packers pay $500,000 for lease of the stadium each year , they are currently in year 14 of a 30 year lease, and while they use the stadium they are responsible to maintain the field and other items the team is using, they also get to profit sharing, $222 million last year, additionally they brought in another $186 million in ticket sales, all of this while paying $500,000 for a stadium valued at over $1 billion paid for by fans that watch the game. The new lease comes up in 14 years, Green Bay and other cities could demand that the teams leasing stadiums start to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else does.
The third problem would be if fan outrage grows over these protests, the fans could start to not only stop watching games and paying for tickets, they could actively go after the sponsors of the NFL and the players, if they started this you would see the NFL would quickly go into a death spiral.
Yet in spite of this, you have players flipping the bird and swearing at fans for daring to not support them, they scream that if you aren’t black you have no right to question their protests, but we are the ones paying to see them play, if they aren’t careful the love we have for our teams and players could very quickly turn to disgust. What is more, rather than seeing this, the players actually think they have the right to spit on the very beliefs of the fans that have supported them for so long, I would suggest these players look to politicians and other famous individuals who at the height of their popularity found out that fame was a fickle thing, as quickly as the fans can give it to you, they can yank it out from under you if you fail to realize the simple fact that they are the ones that can make you or break you.