While many top NFL figures are turning a blind eye to the Kaepernick-led protests against racial inequality in America, many Americans have chosen to turn off the TV in a boycott. In response to growing tensions regarding NFL profits and overall public opinion, Colts owner Jim Irsay has chosen to speak out against the national anthem protests.
While he isn’t necessarily against the cause, he has made it clear that he is opposed to the players taking part in this controversial protest while they’re technically at work.
“I think it’s the wrong venue. It hasn’t been a positive thing,” Irsay told USA Today this week. “What we all have to be aware of as players, owners, PR people, equipment managers, is when the lights go on we are entertainment. We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself.”
Irsay was in Houston this past week for the annual NFL fall meeting — and one of the major topics of discussion was the recent steady decline in the league’s television ratings. Although he didn’t directly blame the lower ratings on the protests, another owner nearly did.
Texans owner Bob McNair spoke up saying he wouldn’t be surprised if viewers were “turned off” by the protests against the national anthem.
“People come to the game because they want to get away from what’s happening in their everyday lives,” McNair said. “When you bring those types of things into the scene, yeah, it will turn some people off. But the main thing we try to do is to say, ‘We recognize your concern. Let’s do something about it.'”
“Everyone’s got theories, you guys have theories, others have theories,” Goodell said. “We work closely with our network partners. We see tremendous strength in our numbers, but we also know that two primetime games that were seeing the most dramatic decrease went straight up against two very significant debates. Another one of our primetime games on Thursday Night was on the NFL Network as opposed to a network broadcast, which will always get a lower rating.”
Isray isn’t necessarily blaming the decline in ratings on the protests — he just thinks they should take their political protests elsewhere. The Colts only have only had one protester this season, and he subsequently got cut with team. Antonio Cromartie was released shortly after protestingfor a second time. According to his wife, Cromartie was cut for protesting.
What do you think of Isray speaking out against the protests? Should the NFL players be allowed to protest during the games? Let us know what you think in the comments below!