Herschel Walker confronts sports leagues as ratings crash and burn: Is this what you want to support?

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Former NFL running back Herschel Walker called out sports leagues for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The 58-year-old former professional football player posted a video message on Sunday, expressing his concerns over the push by baseball, football and basketball leagues to openly show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Following the hiatus the teams faced after the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, the return to playing has been met with less than enthusiastic support from fans who seem to be turned off by the politicization of the sports.

“America wake up…if we love our Country, let’s speak up, stand up and protect it!” Walker captioned his video message on Twitter.

“For the first time in a long time, I stopped in the middle of my workout last night, I saw something that really, really disturbed me,” he said in the self-made poolside video.

“I saw a bunch of people holding a BLM sign, burning the Holy Bible, burning the flag of the United States of America. Also burning the cross,” he said, in a possible reference to reports and video from Portland, Oregon where rioters and protesters were seen setting fires.

“I started thinking that NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB — is this the people you’re supporting right now?” Walker asked.

“Is it the movement, is it the organization? Because, I don’t think it’s right,” he sighed, adding that “we can’t continue to sweep stuff underneath the rug because sooner or later we’re going to stumble.”

“People, are we being fooled?” he asked.

Walker argued that “some people may not believe in BLM” during a recent appearance on Fox News in which he called out the NFL and the NBA for the decision to allow the phrase “Black Lives Matters” on sports jerseys and on the field.

“I’m not sure what they stand for,” he said, “so how could the NFL say we will support BLM or we will do this here without having the players to say what they want because you cannot put that on a player who may disagree with you.”

Walker’s criticism comes amid moves by the major sports leagues to incorporate the BLM messaging and support players kneeling at the playing of the national anthem. NFL officials even announced the so-called “Black national anthem” would be played before the games of Week 1 of the upcoming regular season.

But the “woke” gamble may not have paid off as viewers seem to be tuning out. Both the NBA and MLB saw a significant drop in viewership for the opening games, Outkick reported.

The Los Angeles Lakers-Clippers game on TNT drew just 3.4 million viewers while the Utah Jazz game against the New Orleans Pelicans was seen by 2.1 million. ESPN’s MLB games saw similar low numbers with the New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals game drawing 4 million viewers and  2.8 million tuned in to watch the San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers.

More of the disappointing numbers were shared on Twitter by Outkick’s Ryan Glasspiegel.

“MLB really fell off after opening day,” The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss tweeted. “In general, both leagues aren’t getting the audience one might expect from a nation that’s been deprived of entertainment for months.”

Strauss also noted how the golf game with Tom Brady, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson back in May pulled in 5.8 million viewers, all during a pandemic.

Plenty of Twitter users agreed with Walker on the true intent of the BLM movement and others agreed that the politicization of sports has been a major turnoff.

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Frieda Powers

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