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Football Fans Voice Displeasure But NFL Isn't Listening

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may be proud of the antics of his league from this last weekend, but he may also be the most out of touch sports leader in history.

While the owners and players have been busy verbally massaging each other with virtue lotion, the fans of pro football have been increasingly more vocal:

More from CNN:

If Monday was filled with images of players and vets taking the knee, Tuesday brought numerous examples of the backlash to what has gone from an expression of protest to a divisive issue. Fans burned jerseys; clubs disinvited athletes and some government agencies also made headlines for their reaction.

Here are a couple of examples from that post:

In Ohio, Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand is prohibiting the county's deputies from working any off-duty details at NFL games, according to a  Facebook post.

Hildenbrand said he attended the Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday, where many players knelt while police officers and others in the stadium stood for "The Star-Spangled Banner." He mentioned that his uncle was a Vietnam veteran and that he felt "almost the entire league disrespected every veteran that ever fought or died for this country."

"If they do not have respect for us and our Country only bad things will come of that. We will not be a part of these activities," he wrote

on Facebook.

And:

WOW Cafe & Wingery of St. Bernard in Chalmette, Louisiana, posted on its Facebook page Sunday that it would not broadcast the New Orleans Saints game due to some local players choosing not to stand during the anthem.

One person commented, saying, "We chose to no longer spend our money on anything related to the NFL again, ever. However, we will be frequenting your restaurant. BRAVO."

One Pittsburgh store that sells Steelers gear has been facing fan backlash since Monday morning.

Now, DirecTV is breaking with policy and giving refunds on the pricey annual NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions:

Subscribers to AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket who want to cancel the service because of football players’ national anthem protests can get refunds, according to customer service representatives.

The protests, which started with some players kneeling during the anthem to protest racial inequality, has expanded to teams and even owners linking arms in a show of unity. The issue has been magnified by tweets from President  Donald Trump, who called the protests “disgraceful” and encouraged fans to boycott the NFL.

This might all be dismissed by saying that these examples would just be a drop in the bucket because the NFL rakes in so much money every year. This is the escalation of a trend, however, not the beginning of one.

The ratings decline began last season. While the league is pointing to the fact that Monday Night Football last night was the highest-rated MNF of the young season, the first two weeks were lower than last year's numbers for the same weeks.

Some of this might not be happening if the league were a bit more responsive to its fans. Thus far, Goodell, team owners, and the players have been too busy navel-gazing and muttering incoherently about "unity" and whatever other point they think they are making because they're mad at President Trump.

If I want to watch someone whine about the president being mean to them, I'll watch Jim Acosta or Brian Stelter screaming from their playpens. It would be nice to think that a 325 lb NFL lineman has more emotional fortitude than Acosta, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

They may be demonstrating solidarity with each other, but all of the NFL needs to try and find some solidarity with the fans. If Goodell chooses to remain in his league office's ivory tower and try to pretend that fan discontent is nothing but a few isolated incidents, he'll soon find that it's not just Patriots fans who boo him when he shows up to a game.