A new survey finds little evidence for the theory that Kaepernick's protests caused the NFL's ratings to drop. - From HuffPost
When the NFL’s ratings began to decline during the 2016 season, a popular narrative took hold ― primarily among conservatives ― that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his national anthem protests were to blame.
The survey, first reported by ESPN, asked more than 9,200 people who had ever attended at least one major sporting event about their sports-watching habits ― a pertinent topic, given that the NFL experienced a 9 percent television ratings decline in 2016, and other leagues and sports networks like ESPN have felt the crunch too.
Twenty-six percent of those 12 percent ― or about 3 percent of total respondents ― blamed Kaepernick, meaning the number of people who tuned out over his protests was in fact fairly small.
And even though Kaepernick’s protests were the top reason those who watched less football gave for doing so, it’s worth remembering that self-reporting surveys tend to be less-than-perfect gauges of actual behavior ― especially when they focus on why people make the decisions they do.
So, too, are the struggles of major sports networks like ESPN, which has lost millions of subscribers ― and billions of dollars in revenue ― over the last few years.