A new national survey released Thursday shows the vast majority of Americans say professional football players should keep politics off the field.
According to a poll conducted by the Remington Research Group between Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 of 1,945 respondents, 64 percent of Americans think professional football players like San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick should not use the NFL as a stage for their political views. Only 22 percent believe they should use their platform and 15 percent say they are unsure.
Of the respondents who considered themselves “a fan of the NFL at any point in the past five years,” 63 percent say they have viewed less football this year than previous years, while 37 percent say they have watched more.
Additionally, Republicans and non-partisans have begun viewing less football at a higher rate than Democrats, as 61 percent of Republicans claim they have watched less football in 2016 as opposed to 55 percent of Democrats.
Around three fourths [73 percent] of non-partisans say they have watched less professional football in 2016 compared to years past.
When broken down by race, a fifth of African Americans blamed Kaepernick as a reason for not watching the NFL, while a a third of whites and a third of Latinos say the same.
Kaepernick, originally the back up quarterback for the 49ers, began protesting the national anthem over race issues during pre-season at the start of each game by kneeling instead of standing with his team.
His actions eventually spread to other players on his own team and other teams across the NFL. Soon, players on high school football teams started to mimic Kaepernick.
Not everyone was impressed with Kaepernick, though. Fans in Buffalo, New York booed him during a game against the Bills and after making pro-Fidel Castro remarks, he received the same reception from fans in Miami during a game against the Dolphins.
Kaepernick also did not vote in the presidential election, saying it would be “hypocritical” of him to cast a ballot.
“It’s clear in the data that political issues are affecting the NFL’s viewership,” said Titus Bond, Director of Remington Research Group. “Especially amongst Republicans and Non-Partisans. It’s still a split issue amongst Democrats, but Republicans soundly reject the idea of football players using the NFL as a stage for their political views.”
The loss of audience eyeballs on the NFL this season has cost the networks dearly as well.
Yahoo Finance reported Wednesday networks like CBS and NBC saw spikes in audience deficiency units (ADUs), or “makegoods,” which are payments networks have to make to advertisers when ads do not get the promised volume of impressions.
In the month of November, NBC’s NFL ad revenue dipped 17 percent, according to new data from the Standard Media Index. CBS’s ad revenue declined 26 percent, while Fox had a 34 percent hit in its NFL ad revenue.