Poll reveals why fans have stopped watching NFL football. The main finding: Stay out of politics.

Football fans have a loud and clear message for the National Football League according to a new poll.

The 2017 football season saw decreased viewership from fans on both sides of the political debate over national anthem protests, according to a newly released poll from SurveyMonkey and Ozy Media.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Out of 1,726 adults 18 and older who were surveyed in the poll, conducted from Dec. 8-11, 2017, 1,233 call themselves fans of the sport. And 33 percent of those NFL fans intentionally sat out the 2017 regular season.

“Did you purposely stop watching or attending NFL games this season for any reason?” the poll asked respondents.

(Image: Ozy’s Football poll)

President Trump and his vocal stand against the national anthem protests inspired 32 percent on those surveyed who said they boycotted the season in support of the president. Another 22 percent stopped watching as a show of unity with those who were protesting by kneeling during the national anthem.

Some had other reasons for checking out of the viewing this season, with 13 percent of those polled saying they were not interested in any of the teams in the lineup for 2017 and 12 percent revealing they boycotted NFL games in support of Colin Kaepernick, who ignited the protests when he took a knee during the national anthem in a pre-season game in 2016.

Getty colin kaepernick kneel
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

 

Traumatic brain injuries among NFL players was listed as the reason they stopped watching by 11 percent of those surveyed and another 8 percent were brutally honest in saying they found the games boring.

(Image: Ozy’s Football poll)

An “other” reason was chosen by 46 percent of those surveyed.

There were also significant differences in the polling results of men and women’s responses.

Those boycotting the games in support of Trump included 35 percent of men surveyed and 25 percent of women. Yet 30 percent of women polled said they stopped watching the NFL games to support the protesting players while only 17 percent of the men did so for the same reason.

The divide was even larger for those who boycotted the season to support Kaepernick with 17 percent of the surveyed women saying they were on board with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and his stance. Only 10 percent of the men surveyed said Kaepernick and his actions played a part in their viewing choice.

And while there are NFL fans on both sides of the anthem debate, it seems the majority of fans who stayed away from viewing this season shaped the common message to the league: stay out of politics and just play ball.

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Frieda Powers

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