NFL viewership ratings fell 9% during the regular season this year, and were down 6% during the playoffs, according to a recent analysis ahead of the Super Bowl showdown between the Atlanta Falcon and the New England Patriots.
Many have attributed this year’s decline in NFL ratings to the “Kaepernick Effect,” or the fallout surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial decision to “protest” social injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem.
Conservative celebrity pundit Tomi Lahren burst on the scene with a viral monologue assailing Kaepernick’s actions. “If this country disgusts you so much, leave,” Lahren said. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas graduate’s tirade was widely condemned by liberals on social media.
It would not be surprising if Kaepernick’s protest, which was taken up by a number of other players throughout the league, turned off NFL viewers, who tend to skew Republican. Interestingly, NFL ratings enjoyed a substantial increase following the election of Donald Trump in early November, but were still down compared to the previous year.
Tens of millions of Americans are expected to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, and viewers will certainly be on the lookout for sign of Kaepernick-style protest, as celebrities of all stripes, including athletes, have been eager to signal their displeasure with President Trump.
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