The NFL went from being America’s sport to the least liked sport in America in the span of just a few weeks after players, coaches, and owners protested the national anthem.
Fans who viewed the NFL as favorable dropped from 57% down to 44% from August to the end of September — while the league’s unfavorable rating increased to 40%, the highest of all college and professional sports, according to the Winston Group survey, provided exclusively to the Washington Examiner on Saturday.
The poll revealed that the NFL’s core group of fans, men 34-54, were most turned off to the national anthem protests:
Worse for football, which was already seeing lower TV ratings and empty stadium seats, the month of protests and complaints about them from President Trump drove core fans, men 34-54, away, the most significant indicator that NFL brass aren't in touch with their base.
According to the poll analysis, "more critically for the NFL, the fall off in favorables occurred among important audiences. Among males, NFL favorables fell 23 percent, going from 68 percent to 45 percent. In looking at a more specific audience, males 34-54, NFL favorables fell 31 percent, going from 73 percent to 42 percent. Among this group the NFL has a surprising negative image, as it went from +54 percent in August to -5 percent in September."
The sharp decline in the NFL’s ratings came after President Trump hammered the league repeatedly over Twitter for showing disrespect to the United States by kneeling during the national anthem. Partly in response to the president's comments, around 200 players did not stand for the anthem the next Sunday and Monday.