When will football players finally learn that being a social justice warrior doesn’t pay?
Last week, NBC revealed it plans to show national anthem protests if they occur at this year’s Super Bowl. Ironically, teams with regular kneelers didn’t make the cut.
At the end of the regular season, only five franchises still had at least one player regularly sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem: The 49ers, Raiders, Seahawks, Giants, and Dolphins.
Not a single one of those teams made it to the playoffs. Following divisional playoffs over the weekend, the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles are the last four teams left standing.
The Patriots are favored to win, which would give them their second Super Bowl title in a year. Some liberals said last year’s Patriots victory was the result of “white privilege,” due to quarterback Tom Brady’s friendship with President Trump.
Robert Kuykendall of the conservative corporate watchdog 2ndVote told the Washington Times the anthem protests affected “team cohesiveness.”
“By their actions, the kneelers brought controversy into the locker rooms, and this kind of distraction is always going to be detrimental to team cohesiveness,” Kuykendall said.
“They unfairly put their own teammates in the tough position, especially the players who believe the national anthem and the flag should be respected,” he continued. “Obviously, teams without the distraction were going to be more focused on the game, and that is a catalyst for success.”
Palm Beach-based sports psychologist John F. Murray, who has worked with NFL players, called the protests a “distraction” that impairs players’ performance.
“I work with athletes, and I’m very sensitive to the impact of even a slight disruption in team unity,” Murray prefaced. “I think that would certainly be a possibility. If you’ve got some people who are strongly against that and some people who aren’t, you’re putting that issue in the way of going out there and performing well.”
Kneeling by professional football players, which began with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick, became widespread last September after President Trump said NFL owners should fire players who refuse to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
At one point, nearly 200 players joined in the protest. While the activism has died down, league ratings have been hit.
Television ratings for the NFL’s regular season plummeted by 9.7 percent. A total of 14.9 million fewer people watched games in 2017 than in 2016.
Sports giant ESPN faced major layoffs in 2017, cutting 250 jobs during the year.
Mr. Kuykendall expressed his belief that the damage to the NFL has already been done–even if fans don’t see national anthem protests at Super Bowl LII.
“A lack of protests in the postseason may be better for the league’s public image, but the long-term damage will be felt as sponsors negotiate their advertising deals for the next season,” he said. “Advertisers are likely to demand lower prices because of the loss of viewership.”
No matter the field or industry, liberal politics is always a road to ruin. The NFL is going to have to learn that the hard way.