Leery NFL fans are waiting to see if players mar the opening of Super Bowl LII with anthem protests.
After a season filled with millionaire players using the national anthem as a platform to claim they are being “oppressed,” fans tired of the attacks on the country are ruing the opening ceremony fearing that protests will detract from the game.
To be sure, no players protested during the playoffs. However, the Super Bowl is a much bigger platform than the playoffs, and we already have one team headed to Minnesota that has a history of protests. Members of the Philadelphia Eagles have been protesting for most of the year and having the Super Bowl as a platform may prove too tempting for social justice warriors such as Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
But not everyone is expecting protests for the big game. Chris Lewis, the creative strategist for Sports Pundit, told the Washington Times that he doesn’t foresee any protests.
“The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t kneel at all. The Patriots did a little,” Lewis said. “Personally, I would be surprised if anybody did, but it’s definitely going to be something to watch. Even around the office, people were saying, ‘I wasn’t planning on watching the game, but I do want to see what’s going to happen.’ Or if anything’s going to happen.”
However, Robert Kuykendall, a spokesman for 2ndVote, warned the NFL that fans are tired of the protests.
“We’re reminding the NFL that fans want football, not politics, at the Super Bowl,” Kuykendall said while urging the league to “choose veterans over politics.”
Even millennials seem ready for a more traditional milieu for the NFL. 84 percent of millennials, for instance, said that the Super Bowl should just be about “selling products” and football instead of political messages.
Some sources, though, say that fans are looking forward to a fun game. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are set to spend big for their Super Bowl viewing parties.
“Consumers are carrying strong spending momentum from the holiday season into their Super Bowl festivities,” Phil Rist, a spokesman for Prosper Insights & Analytics said. “This is evident through increased plans for purchasing while the number of viewers remains steady with last year. Fans aren’t afraid to spend a few extra dollars to make this year’s game the best one yet.”
Still, it was already reported that the NFL lost $30 million in advertising revenue over that seen in the 2016 season. And by all accounts, the constant protests against the country has contributed to the nearly ten percent drop in TV ratings the NFL suffered during the 2017 regular season. If fewer viewers tune in for this year’s Super Bowl, it will be yet another sign that the NFL has gone from being America’s game to the anti-American game.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.