The exact reason for these protests is unclear. While some are protesting police brutality, others are calling for more comprehensive criminal justice reform, such as reducing the incarceration rate among African Americans. Others are decrying the poverty in the black community and are advocating increased government assistance.
The players who are protesting are not disadvantaged by any means. According to a Forbes 2015 study, the average NFL player earns $2.1 million annually. This is more than forty times the average American salary of approximately $50,000 per year.
Of the $15 billion that the NFL brings in every year, about 48% is dedicated to the players. To many hard-working Americans who spend their money to support the NFL and the players, the protests are infuriating. Without the fans buying the season tickets and the high-priced merchandise, there would be no exorbitant salaries. In fact, there would be no NFL.
This is the same message that President Trump tweeted this morning, “A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest.”
Of course, President Trump is right. If players want to protest on their own time, no one would have a problem. However, to do it prior to a game is more than inappropriate. It is injecting politics into an area that should be solely about entertainment.
Currently, there is no official NFL policy on anthem protests. League officials are supposedly working with members of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) to create a consensus on the issue. Earlier in the year, the NFL announced that all players would be required to stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room. Unfortunately, after criticism from the NFLPA, the league suspended the enactment of the policy.
This entire controversy was exacerbated by the politically correct leadership of the NFL. They are afraid to upset the players but are obviously fine with upsetting the fans who support the league.
Last year, the anthem protests contributed to the poor ratings and declining revenue for the NFL. Until the league forcefully deals with this issue, the ratings and revenue will continue to suffer.
All the NFL must do is look at the ratings for the Hall of Fame game last week. It was down significantly from the year below. It should serve as a major wake-up call for the NFL, the clock is ticking.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]