BOSTON (CBS) — For most of the 2016 season, the NFL largely blamed the U.S. presidential election for a decline in TV ratings. But with the league’s numbers down another 7.5 percent so far in 2017, amid a growing backlash to players’ national anthem protests, the owners are finally taking the ratings decline seriously.
A new column by The MMQB’s Albert Breer details some of the stats related to the NFL’s dropping TV ratings, and the way it affected a private meeting between players and owners on Tuesday and Wednesday at the NFL League Office in New York. He says the falling TV ratings “might just be the first proof” that the continued “discord” over player protests is negatively impacting everyone’s bottom line.
Due to the ratings figures and the owners’ reaction to them, Breer deduced that recent comments made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – which threatened to punish players who do not stand during the national anthem – were actually meant to connect with disgruntled TV viewers, those who are deciding to tune out the NFL in response to players’ decisions to kneel or otherwise protest during the anthem.