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As the NFL continues to try to address the ongoing civil war between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Commissioner Roger Goodell, not to mention the intermittent hostile fire from the White House, viewers are increasingly deciding they’ve had enough and are abandoning professional football viewership altogether. As the NY Post points out today, the embattled league saw ratings dip 6.3% in Week 11 meaning 1 million fewer people tuned in to see players take a knee during the national anthem versus last year.
The TV audience for NFL games steepened its slide in Week 11, losing 1 million viewers versus last year’s season-to-date average.
The 6.3 percent slump — worsening from comparable declines of 5.6 to 5.7 percent during the previous three weeks — plagued a week whose off-the-field drama made gridiron tackling seem almost tame by comparison.
After starting 11.8 percent behind last year’s TV audience for NFL games in Week 1, league viewership had either held its own or narrowed the gap through Week 8.
The 6.3 percent shortfall in Week 11 reflects an average viewership of 14.9 million for the NFL’s 68 national telecasts this year versus 15.9 million for the season-to-date in 2016.
BERLIN (AP) — Hertha Berlin nodded to social struggles in the United States by kneeling before its Bundesliga game at home on Saturday.
Hertha’s starting lineup linked arms and took a knee on the pitch, while coaching staff, officials and substitutes took a knee off it.
On Twitter, the Bundesliga club says, “Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!”
Meanwhile the ever so tolerant Germans are ‘losing’ Berlin…
…to diversity and tolerance…
“The area around the Alexanderplatz metro in Berlin has become a centre for migrant youth gang violence and drugs, leaving the police to lose control and the district to demand more resources to fight the lawlessness.
The situation around Alexanderplatz has rapidly deteriorated due to the ongoing fights between rival migrant gangs from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and North Africa.”
The action was intended to show solidarity with NFL players who have been demonstrating against discrimination in the U.S. by kneeling, sitting or locking arms through the anthem before games.
Despite playing poorly in his last season, having undergone multiple surgeries, and being a public relations time-bomb, Colin Kaepernick is upset that he is still unsigned through six weeks of the 2017 NFL season.
It cannot be his fault, he seems to surmise, and as such, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reports that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has filed a grievance against the owners for collusion under the latest collective bargaining agreement…
Update (3:30 pm ET): ESPN has suspended host Hill for her second violation of the network’s social media guidelines on Monday after she urged her twitter followers to boycott the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers.
Here’s ESPN’s statement:
ESPN’s Statement on Jemele Hill: pic.twitter.com/JkVoBVz7lv
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 9, 2017
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Having been reprimanded by her boss (and President Trump) for her previous divisive remarks, ESPN’s Jamele Hill called on football fans to boycott advertisers who are aligned with teams pushing back against ‘kneeling’.
As a reminder, after her last outburst, here is what ESPN president John Skipper said in a memo to staffers:
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg…Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose rein to them, they will support the true religion by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation.
– Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
Here’s a prediction. Right-wing snowflake culture will expand exponentially in the coming years, and its rise will be cynically and intentionally fueled by Donald Trump himself. Having proved himself a fake populist on most issues that actually matter, Trump has no choice but to move more enthusiastically into the culture war to deflect away from his obvious betrayal on economic populism and keep his diehard supporters in heat. In other words, he’ll do exactly what mainstream Democrats and Republicans have been doing for decades, which is distract the public and keep it fighting while oligarchs grab what little is left. This works out just fine for billionaire Trump and the Goldman Sachs guys running his administration.
Frankly, in my view, the sporting world should be a politics free zone, and the fact that I am compelled to write about politics in sports in America today is bewildering beyond belief.
That said, to be clear, I am not a fan of the NFL. I think the sport, like most professional sports, is overrun with whiny, juiced-up morons paid millions of dollars for providing nothing to the public except sub-par entertainment and little-to-no loyalty to the state or city in which they happen to be employed.
NFL players are not legitimate role models for society anymore than costumed television wrestlers are role models for society.
Update: Proving that he was just getting warmed up earlier this morning with his latest rant against the NFL, Trump now seems to want ‘#StandForOurAnthem‘ to go viral.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
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After igniting an NFL firestorm over the weekend with a series of tweetstorms bashing players who refused to stand for the national anthem (something we covered in detail here), Trump is at it again this morning with new tweets highlighting the disgruntled crowds that booed the kneeling players.
All but one of the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to protest by staying in their locker room, during the playing of the national anthem at this afternoon’s game in Chicago. The lone dissenter was former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva who bucked the team’s decision and took the field, anyway, hand over his heart and helmet under his arm.
On Sunday morning, reports emerged that the Steelers had decided to stay in their locker room despite league rules requiring the team to be on the sidelines during the playing of the national anthem.
By game time, the team did, indeed, fulfill their announced intentions. However, Villanueva defied his team and took the field:
Update (1:30 pm ET): This afternoon’s round of NFL games has begun and as expected players from nearly every team playing today took a knee during the National Anthem, locked arms in solidarity with players who decided to take a knee, or – in the case of the Pittsburg Steelers – remained in the locker room, and thus weren’t visible to the public.
In Philadelphia, Eagles and Giants players and coaches locked arms as a massive American flag was raised over the field and military jets performed a flyover. A few players raised fists or knelt, according ot the New York Times. Several players on the Bills and the Broncos also took a knee.
The Steelers didn’t participate in the Anthem, as coach Mike Tomlin had warned, remaining in the locker room instead – except for LT Alejandro Villanueva, an army veteran who stood by the tunnel with his hand over his heart.
Even Tom Brady, who as NYT notes is friends with Trump, jooined his teammates in locking arms during the anthem before the Patriots’ game against the Texans In Foxborough. Brady also put his hand over his heart.
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