NBC News’s Dante Chinni and Sally Bronston blamed the National Football League’s viewership problems on “white men.” And here we thought it was because the players and league leaders turned what used to be sportsmanship and entertainment into political theater. But NBC News is probably right; it’s gotta be the white guys.
A January poll conducted by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that the number of those following football and those who want their kids playing the sport is in free fall. Many viewers aren’t tuning into games after players disrespected America by kneeling during the anthem, and concerns about concussions have parents discouraging kids from going out for football. But as Chinni and Bronston delved even further into the analysis, they have another theory — angry white men:
But look closer at the numbers and there is a strong racial component to the decline: it’s being driven by white Americans.
Since 2014, the number of African Americans and Hispanics saying they follow the professional football closely has remained flat, according to the poll. But among whites, the number is down 12 points from 59 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2018.
And digging deeper, gender plays an enormous role. Among white men, the “follow closely” number has declined an astonishing 22 points, from 69 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2018. Over that same time the “follow closely” number among women was unchanged at 47 percent.
So, in a sense, the NFL’s viewership/popularity problems seem to boil down to a problem with white men.
Yes, those same “white men” who have “been a crucial component of the league’s fan base, as anyone who watches the string of beer, pizza and car commercials during an NFL game might guess.” Apparently, you can paint stereotypes of white men with no consequences.
The reporters were shocked, though, that it’s white men from both political parties who are walking away from the NFL. For Republicans, they surmise, it’s because of the kneeling protests and President Trump’s criticisms of the players. For Democrats, they’re turning off the games because they don’t feel the NFL has done enough to prevent concussions -- Dems, of course, are the thoughtful ones.
But it’s going to take a while for the ratings to change the way the NFL does business. For Sunday’s Super Bowl, over 100 million people tuned in to see the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots. That’s about 80 million more than watched last year’s World Series. There wasn't a single kneeling player last night for the anthem, sung by leftist pop star Pink, who was battling the flu. It remains to be seen if that bought back any lost fans.