A recent Cato Institute poll shows Republicans, at least those surveyed by the libertarian think tank, and average voters are at odds with each other on the NFL controversy.
“Sixty-five percent of Republicans say that NFL players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem should be fired,” Cato pollster Emily Ekins said on Sept. 28 in a First Amendment conference at the Libertarian think tank. “This is wildly out of step with what most Americans think.”
“Sixty-one percent say that players should not be fired for refusing to stand.” Yet, the Cato survey oversampled college students.
Moreover, the Cato poll missed the hit to the NFL’s gate. Fox News host Sean Hannity has been gleefully posting the steep decline in NFL ticket sales ever since football players started taking a knee en masse, although the league is doing its level best to spin the damage.
“This week, they’ve seen a 21.8 percent decrease in sales compared to before Week 4, but that was pretty much in line from the kind of decrease they’ve seen in recent seasons, which have been more than 30 percent lower in two of the past three years,” Kevin Spain reported in USA Today last week.
TV ratings show a similar decline. “Four weeks into the current NFL season television ratings are down nearly 10 percent overall compared to the first four weeks of last season,” Daniel Roberts reported on yahoo Finance. “Sunday’s games in Week 4, according to Nielsen, had the smallest audience of any season so far: an average 14.2 million viewers.”
There may have been at least one notable exception– the Thursday Night game between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “During Thursday night’s game, the players and coaches first held a moment of silence to honor the victims who were killed in the Las Vegas massacre Sunday night, before all the Buccaneers and Patriots players stood for the national anthem,” Katie Jerkovich reported in The Daily Caller the next day.