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Are National Anthem Protests Causing Ratings Drop For NFL Games?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The National Anthem protests have perhaps been the biggest storyline of the NFL season to this point. They are certainly the biggest storyline that doesn't involve the actual playing of the game.

What started with one player, Colin Kaepernick, in one town, San Francisco has spread to several NFL cities.

Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles players hold up a salute during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Eagles joined in on the protest when a few members of the team, including defensive leader Malcolm Jenkins, decided to raise their fists in the air to symbolize their displeasure with the oppression of minorities in America that they feel is taking place.

Jenkins, Some Eagles Demonstrate During Anthem

The demonstrations from NFL players have caused a lot of mixed reactions from the viewing public, some of which are applauding the players for expressing their feelings, while others condemn the players for using their platform, to in their view, dishonor the flag, military and police.

The league has not condemned, nor fined players for their protests to this point, but is there a business incentive that may prompt that at some point?

That invokes the question: Are these protests hurting NFL ratings? According to Forbes, the ratings are down so far this season.

Forbes reported that the Thursday Night Football opener between the Broncos and Panthers was down eight percent from 2015. The opening weekend games were also down according to Forbes.

They also said the same pattern of falling ratings occurred in week 2, including the Eagles Monday Night Football matchup with the Bears.

So, are people demonstrating their right to protests the protests by not watching football?

The numbers show that football is still the most widely watched sport in our country, but there is a decrease in eyes early this season and it does not look like players plan on stopping the protests all together anytime soon.

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