The NFL, having seen its attendance, and (far more importantly) TV ratings, plummet during its “kneel for the National Anthem” era, has instituted a new rule.
First, let’s look at the numbers themselves, via data supplied by Richard Deitch’s article (which clearly leans in favor of the kneeling players) for Sports Illustrated:
NBC’s Sunday Night Football
2017: 18.175 million
2016: 20.323 million
2015: 22.522 million
ESPN’s Monday Night Football
2017: 10.757 million
2016: 11.390 million
2015: 12.896 million
Thursday Night Football (NBC/CBS/NFL Network)
2017: 10.937 million
2016: 12.438 million
2015: 12.425 million
Now: what is the new NFL “National Anthem rule”?
It is that, if the players are on the field for the National Anthem, they must stand. But they don’t have to be on the field at all…they can just hang out in the locker room until after it is played.
This, the NFL owners think, will solve their problem.
And how do they think their fans will react when some or most of the players make a point of staying in the locker room until after it is played? Do these geniuses actually believe this will be seen in more positive terms than the kneeling was?
Get ready for what is most likely to be another drop in attendance and ratings, guys. And, also most likely, another SI article trying to blame it on something other than disrespect for the country.