Written by: Paul Burke
A report from ESPN magazine dropped an inside-the-NFL-secret-chambers bombshell report regarding owners-players/owner meeting to head the anthem protest. Owners are divided. But what is it really about?
This report is not a shock, but a few of these owners are completely clueless and insensitive. There are many remarkable but unsurprising takeaways from both meetings. The McNair dude from the TEXANS really showed his true colors. The Bills’ owner is a bumbling ignoramus. Jones shows why many of us detest him so deeply. The irony is that Goodell may have actually handled this quite well. But the arrogance of both him and Jones has finally caught up with them.
If you haven’t seen the report, read it here:
If the owners take a hard stance on the “anthem protests,” it will implode on them. Lines like “inmates running the prison” will be front and center in the players’ minds. Texans’ players are already walking out (Texans Players Considered Walkout Over Bob McNair Comment). They have bigger problems ahead, and if they don’t come to a resolution, it will crater their business more rapidly.
The ratings are not short term. Forbes pointed out that it has been in decline as far back as 2013. Twenty percent of your viewership has declined! It is not just one issue and certainly not the anthem issue only. The product has deteriorated. Owners, especially Jones, have been too arrogant to pay attention. Revenue was shooting up so quickly for a decade, they failed to pay attention to the warning signs. Parity is a big part of it. Who in today’s league stands out? You can go through a list of 15 teams, and do they really separate themselves on a week-in and week-out basis?
Thursday night’s game of Ravens versus Dolphins was the worst rated game in their history. Yes, many can agree that TNF is the ultimate example of the watering down of the product. The Pats versus Falcons game was supposed to be a showcase game; it SUCKED. Millennials don’t have the attention span for games, especially when they are snoozefests like Thursday night and Pats versus Falcons. They tune in for their fantasy players only. On Sunday, they watch Red Zone as that is the best modem for getting instant updates on their fantasy players.
The rules are also a problem as they contribute to confusion with the interpretation and lead to lengthy delays and reviews. Safety is an issue as it relates to “protecting” players, but there is inconsistency of implementation, and we need no more proof than Kiko Alonso’s hit on Flacco. College players streuggle to transition from the college spread offense to the NFL. These are all part of the problem as it is not just one issue that plagues their poor and declining product.
Owners are fractured on this with 13 in the corner of players on their stance. Jones put the owners in a corner with his PR statement that any Cowboy player who took a knee during the anthem would be cut. Owners have tired of Jones’s way. His “ranking owner” line just typifies his style and abrasiveness. The hypocrisy of his kneel with the players before the anthem was not a show of support but an appeasement to the almighty dollar; that is, for his revenue maker the players. The issue did not die down and was further inflamed by Trump. The real source of his revenue was at stake: advertisements and sponsors. Yet again, the almighty dollar takes precedent.
The former SF QB who is not in the league was taking a stance on discriminatory violence against blacks by the police. A Navy seal veteran advised him to kneel versus sitting. This was not what it has become. NFL didn’t see it then. They weren’t proactive in addressing it with players. They instituted the pre-game policy of players out on the field for the anthem. This was decided because of a multi-million dollar sponsor from our armed forces division as a result of “salute the troops” on Veteran’s Day weekend. This is real. This is not a narrative.
The Giants aren’t the only organization facing a LOSING season. It’s the whole league.