Conservative voters will put up with a lot of things in the culture that disagree with their views. They have proven time and again they will roll their eyes at actors and musicians saying negative things about the presidents and candidates they vote for and still consume their product. (As a ready example, Mark Hamill’s obvious politics will not prevent millions of Trump voters from taking their children to see the next Star Wars film.) But the product must be good enough to justify putting up with the contempt. If the movie is marginal, consumers will stay home.
The same is true of sports, and in this the NFL is approaching a crisis. Roger Goodell is now the commissioner of a league that has lost several of its most prominent stars to injury and retirement. The quarterback play is going through one of its worst valleys, the players are less prepared in the early weeks thanks to agreed-upon limitations of offseason practices, and as a result the games themselves are less entertaining. All of this is true apart from the politics, with the political justification giving viewers the last excuse they need to turn away.