Not understanding that we’re just here to watch football and not get involved with political viewpoints, the NFL has once again been plagued with a rash of players kneeling during the National Anthem in order to protest — what these particular players believe — is this country’s racism.
In the midst of all the media hoopla, and political back and forth, the people have begun to tune it out both in the mental sense, and the very real sense.
According to Deadline Hollywood, Sunday night’s game was a whole ten percent down in the early game compared to the same numbers that were being brought in last year.
In metered market numbers, the primetime match-up between the 27-10 winning Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders snared an 11.6/20.
The worst SNF has performed this season so far, that’s an 8% dip from the early numbers of last week’s Atlanta Falcon’s 34-23 win over the Green Bay Packers. Gaining cheers and boos from fans at FedEx Field in Maryland last night, the third week of SNF for the 2017-2018 season declined 10% from early numbers of the comparable game of last year on September 25, 2016.
Last night’s SNF peaked with a 12.5/20 during the second quarter at 9 – 9:30 PM ET. Not that such a number can feel good to the NFL with ratings down double-digits this season so far after taking a similar tackle last year.
According to Deadline, we’ll not know if the results of last nights low viewership were part of the politically charged nature of the game, or if it was other factors, but the steady decline overall is somewhat telling.
Politicizing anything meant to be escapism results in a steady dip, and with some players attempting to make activism and social justice an entire month of recognition for the NFL to endorse — in the same manner as breast cancer awareness — then the sport of football is likely to see a further decline in viewership if the league caves.
If you need to see what happens when entertainment becomes to political, look no further than this year’s Emmy, which continues to see viewership falling by the millions over the course of a few years.