For what seems like forever at this point, the NFL’s ratings and attendance numbers have been on the slide, at least partially due to the politicization of the sport following Colin Kaepernick’s protests of the National Anthem. I never saw it turning into much of an organized “boycott” as such things go, but I know anecdotally that a lot my friends on social media have given up in disgust and not been watching as many games.
But the problems for the NFL are only growing it seems. Now the people on the other side of the issue – the ones supporting Kaepernick’s antics – are speaking out and saying that they don’t plan to watch unless some team steps up and offers him a job. (Time)
[Mindy] Reed plans on boycotting the NFL this season because no team has offered a job to ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose peaceful protest of police brutality during the National Anthem last season sparked a firestorm. It’s not just that teams haven’t extended an offer to Kaepernick, once one of the most promising signal callers in the league, who led the Niners to a Super Bowl in 2013, and threw an admirable 16 touchdown passes, against just four interceptions, for an undermanned San Francisco team a year ago. No team even invited him to training camp for a tryout.
So when an NFL commercial comes on TV, Reed immediately flips the channel. “I don’t take this lightly,” she says about her boycott, citing the important role football has played in her life. “But a line has been crossed, as far as I’m concerned.” Reed, who is white, believes Kaepernick’s protest against the killing of unarmed black people is completely justified. She says police regularly pull over her husband, who is African-American, for “driving while black.”
Apparently Mindy isn’t alone in that sentiment. There’s a #BlackOutNFL hashtag going around on Twitter right now, and even though most of the tweets don’t seem to be getting a lot of action, there are many of them. Here’s a couple which went up in the last few days.
— ColorOfChange (@ColorOfChange) August 31, 2017
— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) September 1, 2017
I’ve seen plenty of protests over the NFL not giving someone the boot if the fans find them particularly offensive. (Who could forget Michael Vick and the dog fighting scandal?) But this has got to be the first time I’ve seen people heading for the exits because somebody didn’t get signed. Particularly when you’re talking about a QB who, after one impressive run to the Super Bowl, put up some fairly mediocre numbers. As I’ve said here before, the amount of disruption and uproar a team is willing to put up with because of you is directly proportional to how likely you will be to get them into the playoffs. If Kaepernick had been racking up Tom Brady level numbers he would have been signed instantly, protests be damned. But he wasn’t delivering at that level and at least thus far nobody is willing to put up with the hassles involved in taking him on.
One quick solution for all the people on this side of the protest would be to go buy one of the current NFL franchises. Then you can hire whoever you like. (You could probably pick up the Jets on the cheap right about now and our old owner just became the Ambassador to the UK.) But that’s a pretty expensive hobby to get into.