The NFL is the top major sports league out of our major sporting interests. But for a few, well many reasons; the NFL has many issues on its hand. Firstly, their ratings are on a decline, their commissioner has too much power, the players aren’t paid enough. On a broader level, their owners are either racist, out of touch with the fans, and have a long history of making bad football decisions. In term of public image, the NFL is being hurt because of their concussion issue and their history of allowing players with toxic history to continue of being employed by the league.
And oh yeah, the league just spent a whole winter meeting just to make a rule for standing during the National Anthem. The NFL’s blatant racism towards Colin Kaepernick has dominated the headlines. And all Colin did was kneel, not disrespect anyone; he kneeled. He didn’t get pulled over for a DUI or arrested for Domestic Violence; he kneeled. He didn’t inflate ball or spy on other teams; he kneeled. If the NFL has problems with that but not the other outrageous things players are doing, then the league is in a boatload of trouble.
Many conversations about the NFL within the black community, the idea of protesting the NFL has popped up. The main solution has been to stop watching games. Now yes, that makes an impact but it only hurts NFL officials who care about ratings and the companies who advertise on NFL programming. I’ll explain later but honestly, not watching games isn’t the biggest impact we can make. Here are the possible ways a person can protest the NFL and really wake the league up
Not Watching Games
The NFL is depending on good tickets sales, fierce matchups on the field, and brandable storylines. It makes good TV. Now not watching it makes an impact but it doesn’t hurt the NFL as we think it does.
Pictured above is the NFL’s TV contracts. So yeah, the league makes billions of dollars just for showing football for one season. Fox, CBS, NBC, DirectTV, ESPN, and Verizon drops major bread in the NFL. And here’s what super crazy about the NFL’s content, no matter who isn’t playing and how bad the product gets; those providers will still be paying bread for their NFL contract. Here’s why. In the 90’s, FOX Sports was somewhat new. What made them so good was acquiring the NFC contract to show NFC games. NBC Sports fell apart for a while by not showing the NFL to the point of showing the XFL in 2001. From a business standpoint, the NFL will make or break a channel’s reach and profit so of course, those games will always be on.
So overall, the NFL will always make money from games despite the ratings. But not watching games will affect the sponsors of the NFL, not really the NFL.
Stop Supporting Products of NFL Sponsors
Gatorade, EA Sports, VIsa, Pepsi, SiriusXM, Ticketmaster, Nike, Under Armour, Verizon, Bose, Ford, Intel, Pizza Hut.
Here are only a few of the NFL’s major sponsors. There’s a lot of brands we love that invests money in the NFL through ad revenue. To really hurt the NFL is to take away from its profit. Ad revenue is the key to success in any league. If the fans aren’t interacting with the NFL’s content, then the NFL won’t get as much money from Ads. But according to AdWeek, the NFL made over two billion dollars just from advertisements this past season. NBC made over 500 million dollars just from ads from the Super Bowl alone.
Despite the profit, the NFL is in a tough spot in their advertising pursuits. For example, Papa Johns. Their former CEO John Schnatter complained about his company losing money because of the NFL protests and he criticised the NFL. Here’s what happened. Many people, including me, did not give any money to Papa Johns. Their sales took a mean decline, he got sat down from CEO and their arch rival Pizza Hut is now the NFL’s new pizza sponsor.
Here’s what the NFL is facing. If a company publicly complains about the protests in the favor of the NFL, they will probably lose money. Then they will look at the NFL and the NFL will be shaken since they might lose profit. But if a company (a few has) agrees with the protest and thinks its ok, they will get pushback and probably lose money from fans who are mad. Overall, the fans consumption of NFL content will determine what happens to how much money their partners make and what the NFL makes. Besides their promised TV contracts, the NFL makes most of their “Gameday” profit from ads and ticket sales.
Yeah, ticket sales, about that.
Stop Investing Into Owners: Stop Buying Tickets and Team Para
Most NFL owners are either racist, not good to their fans, hates the NFL leadership, has issues connecting to their players, or actually are ok. The ok bunch is short. Basically, most NFL owners are trash. They have too much say so in league affairs are able to completely ruin the lives of players. But the best way to keep them in check is money, and even losing it.
A way to protest the NFL is to stop investing in the league’s teams. NFL teams make an average of over 50 million dollars from tickets each season. That’s a lot of money. What if we just stop buying tickets. That would just drive owners crazy. Oh yeah, you know how I mentioned ads. Yeah, each team has their own ad partners on top of their NFL sponsors. What if we don’t go to the stadium, we won’t buy products and see the hundreds of ads around the stadium.
The power is in our hands. If the NFL keeps up, there will be some angry owners for sure. So if you’re smart, don’t buy NFL tickets. If you want to, buy them bootleg so the money won’t go directly to the NFL *insert laughing emoji*.
It’s Up to the Players: More Noise, and More Protests
Over 60% of the NFL is black. Besides O-Line, Tight End, Punter, Kicker, and QB; the NFL is a black league. With these stats alone, it makes the league look like a slave plantation. Owners just want players to play and be quiet. The league office wants that. And even most fans want that.
With that being said, its better for the players to start shaking the table and really irritating some fans. For example, although he’s in the sunken place; what if Cam Newton protests by not playing a game? The Panthers will lose, NFL Fantasy team owners will lose their mind, Carolina’s new owners will lose money and Cam will be criticized to the max. That’s one player, but what if more major players start to really call out the league for what it is? All of those players cannot be replaced and not everyone will be silenced.
It’s time to step up and have more players to speak up. The fact that Colin barely got support while the NFL tried to gentrify and now ban kneeling doesn’t make sense to me at all. The NFL is a player-driven league. If they dot play well or at all; there’s always a negative impact.
It’s time for more players to stand up.
Talent Hit: Stop Sending Players To The League
Not super connected to this article but it is a slight factor. Although the dream is big and obtainable, we have an issue with being addicted to going to the pros. We see that the league treats its talent like trash but there are so many people who won’t make it but are so concerned about making it. It’s time to wake up. If the NFL continues to mess up, someone will pick it up. That’s what made the AFL so successful in the 60’s, they allowed things that the NFL did not really like. Including more black players.
If things get extreme, maybe fewer people won’t be focused on making the league. Will it happen? Nope.
There are too many people focused on “the grind” and doesn’t even realize that the NFL is a basically a giant machine that makes money in every way possible. If you don’t play well or are too bold, you will get replaced. We see it happen all of the time.
Attention Shift: Playing/Watching Other Sports
Football is slightly losing interest. With concussion issues and now the NFL’s issue with “politics”, people are invested in other things. The NBA is taking advantage. They let their players talk with realness with no true limit on speech. The coaches are even partaking on this. The Warriors coach Steve Kerr called the NFL’s new policy “idiotic”. Hockey, they literally fight in the middle of games, that super entertaining.
Swimming, lacrosse, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, and even hockey has seen an increase in participation from the black community. In terms of TV, College Football is a better product than the NFL. The NFL needs to realize that there’s always another sport to play and another brand to watch. Shifting one’s attention from the NFL definitely hurts the league.
The NFL needs to fix their racism issues and their leadership issues as well. No one is on the same page. Some owners aren’t in touch with their players. Some players aren’t in touch with their fans. And the NFL leadership are just letting this happen. But of course, when issues like police violence and systematic oppression doesn’t to most of the people who have power; things will be normal to them.
But to those who those issues apply to, it’s time to take action. The players need to start shaking the table and demanding better pay and actually start speaking about what’s going on out here. Making it to the big time and forgetting about everyone else is disrespectful.
Overall, the NFL is in a mess. Will you still support this system?