Football fans who are tired of NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem are showing their displeasure this Veterans Day weekend by refusing to watch the games on TV.
Boycott the NFL, a Facebook page with more than 227,000 followers, has called on supporters to tune out Sunday’s games “in solidarity with veterans around the country,” while the conservative watchdog group 2ndVote asked fans to “stiff-arm the NFL.”
“We’re sending the National Football League, its corporate sponsors, and the television networks a message this Veterans Day weekend!” said 2ndVote. “Americans are sick of the disrespectful National Anthem protests that the NFLhas not only allowed to continue, but has institutionalized in pregame ceremonies.”
About 22,000 people have indicated on Facebook that they plan to turn off the television for games.
2ndVote, which monitors corporate political activity, also launched the hashtag #STANDwithVets.
“Remember, several of the companies that do business with the NFL like DirecTV and Anheuser-Busch have signaled just how bad of a PR disaster the protests have been,” said 2ndVote. “Join us this weekend and we’ll hit the NFL and all of its sponsors where it counts!”
It’s possible that players who have refused to stand for the national anthem so far this season will make an exception for Veterans Day.
The half-dozen Seattle Seahawks players who have sat during the national anthem stood up for the flag at Thursday night’s game in what defensive end Michael Bennett later called a show of support for the military in honor of Veterans Day.
I’ve got news for Mr. Bennett. Supporting the military one day out of the year does not make you a patriot. In fact, it’s the height of cynicism to try and convince fans that you’re not really disrespecting the military when you kneel during the anthem.
As for the boycott, that it’s received this kind of support with so little effort at organizing should send a clear message to the league about the depth of fans’ dissatisfaction. And while TV numbers will probably not take a hit, the impact will be felt the most in bars and taverns — where it appears that, at least in some instances, patrons have been successful in convincing business owners to join in the protest.
A bar in New Jersey will not be showing NFL broadcasts this weekend thanks to a customer who asked the owner to honor veterans like himself by refusing to show the games.