It turns out those blaming Colin Kaepernick for last season’s decline in NFL viewership have a point: A newly released study found that the national-anthem protests were the main reason disenchanted sports fans tuned out.
The J.D. Power Fan Experience Survey, which polled 9,200 sports buffs, showed that of those who watched less coverage, 26 percent cited players who took a knee instead of standing for the anthem, a protest spurred by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.
After the protests, 24 percent named game delays for their drop in interest, while another 24 percent pointed to “off field image problems with domestic violence.”
Those reasons were followed by “excessive commercials and advertising” at 20 percent; coverage of presidential election at 16 percent, and “cord-cutting,” or cancelling TV or cable subscriptions, at 5 percent.
NFL viewership dropped last year by 8 percent from the previous season, which coincided with some players opting to take a knee instead of stand during the pre-game playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a protest against police shootings of black men.
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