Being Reminded of Racism Is Destroying Pro Football for Whites


National Review’s Jim Geraghty passes along the news from SI’s Richard Deitsch that ratings for NFL football are down this season. Deitsch suggests several possible explanations: a crazy election season sucking away attention; a smaller group of star quarterbacks (no Peyton Manning or Tom Brady); bad Monday night games; a slowdown in fantasy football; fatigue from too many days of football; and just generally the fact that this season has featured an awful lot of lousy play. However, Geraghty has his own theory:

There’s probably more than one reason, which means it’s oversimplifying it to say Colin Kaepernick and kneeling NFL players are driving way football fans. But it’s a factor, and maybe the biggest factor.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that nearly one-third (32%) of American adults say they are less likely to watch an NFL game because of the growing number of Black Lives Matter protests by players on the field. Only 13% say they are more likely to watch a game because of the protests. Just over half (52%) say the protests have no impact on their viewing decisions.

Looks like I’m not the only one who just wants to enjoy watching the game.

I don’t watch much pro football, so someone help me out: do the TV nets actually show much kneeling at the start of the game? Do they talk about it? Is it something that intrudes on the game, or would you barely even know it’s happening unless you read about it elsewhere? In other words, is there any plausible reason that Geraghty can’t just enjoy the game anymore without having his beautiful mind reminded that racism still exists in the US?

Speaking of which, you will be unsurprised at just who finds all this kneeling so unpleasant: “Whites are twice as likely as blacks — 36% to 18% — to say they are less likely to watch this year.” Surprise!