Weighing the right to protest against the right to profit
Colin Kaepernick decided to take a stance against police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. In the games that followed, many other National Football League (NFL) players knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick. The movement then stirred up controversy among football fans, causing some to stop watching the games altogether. But is it really a problem?
The First Amendment gives us the right to free speech and allows us to protest in a variety of ways, such as refusing to stand for the national anthem. Everyone deserves these rights and should have the ability to use them.
However, the NFL is a business, and players should not be behaving in such a way that hurts their business’s revenue.
The protests impact the NFL’s viewership negatively, which in turn affects their profit. Less people are coming to games, which costs the league in ticket, merchandise and concession sales. These are all things that contribute to revenue for teams, but not what will hurt profits the most.
According to Investopedia, an online source for “investing education and financial news,” 90 percent of self-described NFL fans have never attended a game, and two thirds of the NFL’s revenue comes from one source: television. When people stop watching the games on television because of protesting, the NFL loses money. The league should incentivize players away from protesting because it harms their business.
Protests hurt the NFL because activism and sports do not mix. This was shown over the past year when people decided to stop watching football due to politics. According to a survey done by CNBC, league views are down 8.7% compared to last year. The CNBC survey also concludes that one fifth of Americans won’t watch the Super Bowl due to Donald Trump’s tweets regarding these protests. When people watch a football game they do not want to see people taking a stand or complaining about other things going on in the world. They want to watch sports to be entertained by the hits, bruises and scores of their favorite team. They pick up the remote because they know it’s a step away from politics.
It’s completely okay to protest, but there is a better place to do it. Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Marshawn Lynch and others can lead a group down to the White House. They can talk to people and spread the word to increase awareness of the subject. Kaepernick has a lot of power, and can do a lot more to protest police brutality in America. Let the flag be celebrated and protest in another way.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan commented, “My own view… is we shouldn’t [protest] on the anthem.The national anthem and the flag should be something that we can celebrate on and off the field.”
At a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump also voiced his disapproval of Kaepernick: shouting, “He’s fired, he’s fired!”
Izzy Lowry, a daughter of an Air Force Head Personnel, said “I definitely don’t agree with protesting the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance or anything, but unfortunately it’s not [legally] wrong. It’s the right of an American to peacefully protest, and as long as it remains peaceful, they’re using their right my dad has spent his life defending.”
Truth be told, our American soldiers fight for the right to protest this way. You may not like it but the fact is, it’s their legal right. Now, just because it’s legal does not mean it should happen. Most importantly, the NFL doesn’t want it to keep happening.
If the NFL wants to remain popular then they will have to get rid of politics in the game. If politics continue to run rampid the league will take a big hit with viewers and money. This upcoming season will have to be different.
The protests are negatively affecting everyone. Let the flag be celebrated and praised for all it took to get here. Controversy will always exist between Americans over right and wrong. Instead of fighting about our differences, let’s celebrate all the things we have because of the soldiers who fight for us. Let’s celebrate America and the amazing things we get to do everyday.
Christian Monk is a second-year Television-Radio major who doesn’t even kneel to tie his shoelaces. They can be reached at email@example.com.