Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, December 03, 2017

A few weekends ago, at a seersucker-in-November southern horse-racing event I attended with some lovely and friendly people who will nevertheless be the first ones taken out when the revolution comes, a family friend, an older white man, asked me what I, the one sportswriter he knew, thought of the kneeling NFL players. I told him that while I stand for the anthem myself, I supported the players' right to express themselves politically and encouraged him to worry less about the kneeling and more about what the players were trying to say. He snorted and said he was done with the NFL until "they stand their ass up." We then drank some bourbon and found something else to talk about. Later on, I spoke with another family friend, one with long hair and a big bushy beard and an anarchic spirit (he whispered "Fuck all these Trump people" to me with a winking smile).

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"I don't know how you can watch that," he said. "Just jingoistic military bullshit."

He asked me if I would let my sons play, or if I worried it would "smash their brains." We then drank some more bourbon and found something else to talk about.

There was a time, not long ago, when the NFL was the most unifying public institution we had. No matter your political or demographic persuasion, the one thing you could find to talk about with someone was football.

Now, suddenly, the league that was once for everyone seems to be in crisis. Worse, it has no natural constituency.

Liberals think it's dangerous, classist, totalitarian, and cruel. Conservatives think it's pandering, too "politically correct."

A lot of this is attributable, like so much else, to the president.

Dozens of players were protesting the first two weeks of the season, but no one seemed to care ... until Trump's weekend tweetstorm from his golf club back in September.

But the fact that we're even framing this in political terms -- the idea that a game in which people throw a ball and tackle each other has somehow become another thing for us all to yell at each other about from our ideological corners -- is a large part of the problem.

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Go Eagles!

#1 | Posted by ichiro at 2017-12-03 08:30 PM | Reply

Q: Is This the End of the NFL?

A: No.

#2 | Posted by MrSilenceDogood at 2017-12-03 08:38 PM | Reply

Trump has the reverse midas touch ... everything he touches turns into moronic partisan bickering.

#3 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-12-03 08:38 PM | Reply

I could not possibly care less about football, but that's an interesting article regarding pro sports in general.

#4 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-12-03 08:44 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

I could not possibly care less about football, but that's an interesting article regarding pro sports in general.

#4 | POSTED BY REDIAL

And, the NBA is on the rise -- cool.

#5 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-12-03 08:49 PM | Reply

The refs and waaaay too frequent replay breaks to make sure calls are "right" for the benefit of gamblers are more of a problem for the game than the kneelers. And the realization that playing the game will mess your brain up is shrinking the talent pool. Long term outlook-not good.

#6 | Posted by morris at 2017-12-04 12:58 AM | Reply

Every weekend the only digital broadcast channels show football non-stop. For an institution that grooms some of the least-deserved American "heroes" it seems waaaaay overplayed rather than analyzed.

I'm not certain if there are gay out players yet, not that it should change my opinion of football culture, but I see kneeling for the BLM is only happening because so many key players are black - otherwise they would be ridiculed and fired.

The moment I was paying them any attention and they take Michael Vick back in they proved how craven for cash and bankrupt on morals they are. This man and all of his friends are cruel scum. That's what the NFL is - abusive and undeserved of our protection.

#7 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2017-12-04 11:56 AM | Reply

The NFL generates $13.3 billion in yearly revenue, a 50% increase since 2010. It is the most profitable sports league in the world, ahead of the MLB, NBA and Premier League.

It might fall off this enormous peak, but to suggest it is near an end is wacky.

#8 | Posted by rcade at 2017-12-04 12:31 PM | Reply

If the NFL disappeared it wouldn't cause me a single moment of regret.

#9 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-04 12:39 PM | Reply


@#8 ... to suggest it is near an end is wacky. ...

I agree that there is going to be an NFL in some manner for a long, long time, easily decades.

A lot of that NFL revenue is generated via agreements with the likes of ESPN, who then just pass the cost on to their subscribers in the form of a $8 charge per month for everyone who has ESPN forced upon them.

ESPN is losing subscribers like crazy (with another set of layoffs recently because the revenue has been dropping).

My point is, don't look at overall revenue, look at overall viewership. If viewership is declining, then that means the NFL is pulling in more revenue per viewer. Normally, that would be a good thing. But you have to ask, at what point do the viewers say, "enough!" and simply find something else to spend their money on?

Maybe the article's title should be, "Is This The End of the NFL's Dominance?"

#10 | Posted by LampLighter at 2017-12-04 03:37 PM | Reply

I think viewership is down because they barely show the cheerleaders any more.

Cut to the cheerleaders during every replay review and ratings will come back.

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-12-04 03:41 PM | Reply


If the NFL disappeared it wouldn't cause me a single moment of regret.

#9 | Posted by Danni

And if soccer disappeared, I feel the same way.

The NFL isn't going away regardless what liberals want. A majority of Americans love the game. Those who talk about not going to see it probably were not true fans anyway. No one I talk to is thinking about dropping the NFL.

#12 | Posted by boaz at 2017-12-05 08:48 AM | Reply

The NFL isn't going away regardless what liberals want.

Liberals aren't the ones boycotting the NFL.

Go seek professional therapy.

#13 | Posted by ClownShack at 2017-12-05 12:17 PM | Reply

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