In the never-ending debate about whether Colin Kaepernick or anthem protests are affecting the NFL’s viewing habits, a new poll shows: There is no big impact.
A Rasmussen Poll released this week showed that 19 percent of those polled said they’d stop watching or boycott the NFL if he’s unsigned. Only 13 percent said that they are more likely to watch football this fall if Kaepernick remains unemployed. The overwhelming majority, 61 percent, says it doesn’t matter.
When Kaepernick protested last August, a debate began about whether protests like his and those that followed could affect the NFL’s bottom line and whether he should be disciplined by the league. At the time the country was split: 43 percent polled by Rasmussen called for a form of punishment for the dissenters, and 45 percent disagreed.
Even months later, a poll showed that a majority of Americans disagreed with the anthem protests. Outlets believed ratings were suffering. But a poll from J.D. Power this summer showed that viewership was never down because of anthem protests.
In the poll released this week, just 29 percent of Americans hold a “somewhat favorable” view of Kaepernick. Ten percent have a “very favorable” outlook. Yet, 46 percent of those polled still view Kaepernick unfavorably and 28 percent have a “very unfavorable” view. Twenty-five percent of people polled are undecided.
Black Americans hold a more favorable view of Kaepernick going into the season: 43 percent found him favorable compared to 29 percent of white people and 20 percent of “other minorities.” Black people who were polled were also twice as likely as any other group to boycott the NFL and stop watching football.
Kaepernick's fight for black lives has made a significant impact on his supporters and the national dialogue on racial equality. His film shows there’s still not a clear football reason he’s unemployed. And every week rallies are appearing nationwide, showing the NFL that this issue isn’t going away.
Though Kaepernick remains unsigned, his fight continues. And however people see Kaepernick, or how it affects ratings (or not), protest in football doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.