What began as a simple kneel during the national anthem by a professional football player has now gone viral. It was announced Wednesday that NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast has been cancelled due to low viewer ratings. What would have been unheard of in the wildly popular National Football League (NFL) just a year ago is now happening at a breakneck pace.
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner with his new multi-year contract better work fast or this could be the last generation of fans to witness a professional football game on live television for free. Our grandchildren will know the NFL through stories and archival footage.
How could it come to this so quickly? One only has to look to late last season. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, no especially considered one the league’s elite players, decided to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before the game.
The act of one player was covered nationally by the media. The repercussions from outraged fans were immediate. The NFL underwent a seismic shift in their culture as millions of Americans perceived the protest as disrespecting the country’s flag and its heritage.
One man’s misguided thought process spread throughout the league as players from every team took up his "protest." But that was only the beginning.
As the anger and frustration of fans mounted watching overpaid athletes dishonor our military and the history of the country, President Trump provided his two cents worth. The highly controversial president thus started a firestorm of the left versus the right. The ongoing civil war in this country was elevated to hysterical proportions.
Fans turned away from the beleaguered league and sought solace in other forms of entertainment. The media relished in their spot coverage of former football fans burning their NFL memorabilia in barbeques once used for neighborhood gatherings while the games played on the TV.
That’s when it got serious for the league and their cherished revenue. The TV ratings sank and advertisers like Budweiser and Chevrolet began to ponder changes in their multi-million dollar ad campaigns. The NFL became the laughing stock of American sports and it became fashionable to be one of the participants.
Professional football is in trouble. Word of the frightening news that NBC deems its Sunday night telecasts a poor investment is thunderous indeed. Where it will go from here depends on whether the management of the league can stop the bleeding.
But now there will be no football Sunday night on the final week of the regular season. Has it come to the point where reruns of "Leave It to Beaver" will surpass what advertisers feel would be the viewership of an NFL game?
Scurrying to limit the damage, the NFL explains that all the final week’s games be played at the identical time throughout the nation. That is "their" reason for eliminating prime time Sunday. Apparently they also have some swamp land they want to sell any gullible fan.
The facts speak for themselves. The Sunday night telecast of NFL football on Christmas Eve tied a six-year low in the ratings. The week before that, saw a 35 percent ratings drop from the previous year.
Commissioner Goodell has his work cut out for him. Not only are many Americans outraged by the behavior of some NFL athletes, they now have time to think about other factors that play into the fold. It starts with the exorbitant salaries of the players, extending to overpriced tickets, television monopolization of the cable companies, and the wholesale mismanagement of the entire league.
Will America come back after the protests fizzle out? Millions of wives have now grown accustomed to their husbands paying attention to their children while all those neglected cans of Budweiser and lonely Chevrolets on the showroom floor seek customers. What will bring back the angry consumers? Maybe nothing at all.
Dwight L. Schwab, Jr. is an award-winning national political and foreign affairs columnist and published author. He has spent over 35 years in the publishing industry. His long-running articles include many years at Examiner.com and currently Newsblaze.com. Dwight is an author of two highly acclaimed books, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selected Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014" and "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Election in History." He is a native of Portland, Oregon, a journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, and a resident of the SF Bay Area. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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