Proposed Boycott Sees No Impact On NFL; League Close To Social Justice Partnership
Fans angry with the NFL and some protesting players had "called for a boycott on Veterans Day weekend," but most fans showed up to yesterday’s games, and in "greater numbers than they had averaged all season," according to Jay Busbee of YAHOO SPORTS. Many fans have said that they would "boycott the NFL, and loosely organized movements on Twitter and Facebook sought to flex patriotic muscle by boycotting the entire slate of games" the Veterans Day weekend. However, the numbers "don’t indicate that any boycotts, if indeed they happened, had a meaningful numerical effect." In fact, total attendance at the eight early games yesterday, as reported by the NFL, was up about 1% over season averages (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/12). In Indianapolis, Jim Ayello notes a Facebook group with more than 250,000 followers "encouraged fans across the country to boycott the NFL over the Veterans Day weekend in protest of football players kneeling during the national anthem." However, for Steelers-Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, there "did not appear to be a drop in an attendance." A "near sellout crowd was on hand as the Colts celebrated veterans as part of the the league-wide 'Salute to Service'" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/13). In DC, Valerie Richardson notes the number of NFLers taking a knee during the anthem "dropped off dramatically" yesterday, with all but a "handful of players standing" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/13).
A MEANS TO AN END: ESPN's Jim Trotter said "it appears" NFL players and owners are "getting very close to reaching a partnership on this social justice issue and my understanding is that there have been constant calls between the league and the players, the players among themselves." Trotter: "They will talk again, likely (Monday) or Tuesday, and at that point, if the players like what they're hearing from the league, we could probably hear something later in the week that perhaps finally we will have a partnership between the two sides to address the players' concerns about social injustices" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/13).
LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED: In S.F., Henry Schulman writes more than a year after Colin Kaepernick took a knee, the "incursion of real-world issues into sports has become ever more prevalent, mirroring the nation’s overall heightened political tension" in the wake of the '16 election. Sports were "never immune from politics and race, which are often intertwined." Rarely, though, has "every major sport in America been roiled simultaneously, as they are now." Moreover, every pro team that "wins a championship immediately gets asked if it will visit the White House for a ceremony with the president, a once-trivial and -fun tradition that has become another divide" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/13).