As the controversy continues with National Football League players kneeling during the national anthem, the financial consequences are starting to develop due to commissioner Roger Goodell not mandating that the players respect the national anthem by standing. It has recently been reported that ticket sales from last week are down 17.9%, television viewership is on a steady decline, and several local eateries who used to televise NFL games no longer do so.
Now the NFL is losing sponsors. Several days ago, CEO Allan Jones of Check Into Cash pulled all of his sponsorship and dealings with the National Football League including his sponsorship of the wardrobes for the NBC sports analysts covering the games. Mr. Jones supported his withdrawal from the NFL citing the obvious hypocrisy on display as he brought to light that the multi-million dollar stadiums NFL owners enjoy are built using taxpayer money. “Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior. When I see Colin Kaepernick lecturing about the ‘oppressed’ while he is wearing a Fidel Castro T-shirt you realize the hypocrisy to this stupidity. I love America. They have the right to protest and I have the right to turn off the channel and place our ads elsewhere. The next time someone asks the public to finance a stadium this will have a very long-term effect. These guys should really be the lead plaintiffs in the head injury cases – that’s the only jury that will find sympathy.” Adding to his statement regarding his cancellation of business with the NFL, Mr. Jones provided a bit of history for commissioner Roger Goodell to lament on. “If you will research why Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner you will realize why I am upset about these NFL players protesting. They don’t even know what it is they are protesting. The flag was still standing. 200 English ships tried to take it down. They kept it up all night and it could only be seen when the bombs were bursting in the air. So many patriots gave their lives to keep the flag up — and now to have people protesting who don’t have a clue about any of this bothers me.”
Another sponsor has also pulled out of doing business with the NFL. Flemington Car and Truck Country, owned by Steve Kalafer, is not pleased with the disrespect the NFL players, the commissioner, and team management have put on display. Mr. Kalafer released a statement saying, “The National Football League and its owners have shown their fans and marketing partners that they do not have a comprehensive policy to ensure that players stand and show respect for America and our flag during the playing of the national anthem. We have cancelled all of our NFL advertising on the Optimum and Infinity (cable) networks. As the NFL parses the important nationwide issues of ‘social justice’ and ‘freedom of speech,’ it is clear that a firm direction by them is not forthcoming.” This lack of direction on the part of commissioner Roger Goodell is causing serious damage to the NFL brand with many fans vowing to never watch another game again. Mr. Kalafer even stated that many of his business contacts feel the same way he does, and they will likely pull any support they have for the beleaguered NFL.
The players who continue to take a knee and disrespect the fans who contribute to their inflated salaries claim that their protests are not against the U.S. Military, or the American flag, but that is the effect they are having, and fans have demonstrated they are not happy.
As long as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remains silent and the team owners allow their players to run amuck, the financial consequences the NFL is feeling will only grow. As it stands now, the league is looking at losing billions of dollars, and the official NFL beer sponsor, Anheuser Busch, has set up a phone line soliciting feedback from customers about how they feel regarding NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. When the hotline first went up, it crashed due to the amount of calls they received. Though Anheuser Busch has stated they plan on sticking with their NFL sponsorship, that may soon change if enough customers continue to call in and stop buying their beer.
The NLF players, coaches, and league officials are in for a rude awakening as the league and teams continue to lose money and sponsorships.