Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Aug. 26, 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United States. Since that time, many other professional football players, high school athletes, and professional athletes in other sports have refused to stand for the national anthem. These protests have generated controversy and sparked a public conversation about the protestors’ messages and the way they’ve chosen to deliver those messages.
People who support refusing to stand for the national anthem argue that athletes are justified in using their celebrity status to bring attention to important issues, and that refusing to stand for the national anthem is an appropriate and effective method of peaceful protest. People who disagree argue that football games are an inappropriate place to engage in political protest, and that not standing for the national anthem shows disrespect for the country and those who proudly support it, some with their lives.
Over the past year and a half, sports broadcasts have suffered a sustained drop in ratings.After years of explosive growth, the NFL experienced a sudden drop in ratings in 2016, a development which became one of the most talked about sports stories of the year.
A new poll commissioned by Fox News suggests that the ongoing saga of players boycotting the national anthem is a major culprit in the NFL’s sinking ratings. The poll found that 17% of Americans were less interested in football due to the national anthem protests, compared to 10% who faulted too many penalties for their disinterest.
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