NFL Attempts to Control Narrative By Avoiding Shots of Angry Fans

The backlash against the National Football League continues to grow this week, as Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to botch the organization’s response to protesting athletes.

While American sports figures often find themselves in a position to make a positive change for some lesser known charities and causes, what is occurring within the NFL as of late is no such situation.  Colin Kaepernick’s anti-police protest of kneeling during the National Anthem has now gone mainstream, as the gesture was torn from the hands of Black Lives Matter and other racist hate groups, and has now been directed at a patriotic President who publicly criticized the league and the players involved in disrespecting our nation’s symbolism.

When these protests spread around the league last weekend, the NFL found themselves on the receiving end of a great deal of horrendous criticism from the fans.  What’s odd, however, is that you may have had a hard time realizing just how upset American football fanatics were as the league purposefully refused to acknowledge angry and upset ticket holders on-site at several contests.

“With President Donald Trump’s attacks against protesting NFL players still reverberating, the league’s TV partners decided to air live coverage of the national anthem before Week 3 games. Those partners left out a key element of the coverage: crowd shots of angry fans.

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“Networks typically do not televise the national anthem except for the Super Bowl and other special occasions, but they recognized there would be intense viewer interest this past weekend.

“Some fans, if they reacted at all, happily clapped and cheered during protests, but others did not, and they angrily let their home teams know it. The audio mics picked up the boos. Yet the TV networks mostly avoided crowd shots Sunday, so there was never a chance for viewers to see fans jeering players.

“One behind-the-scenes TV staffer at another stadium told Sporting News that camera operators were ordered to avoid crowd shots in case they showed fans counterprotesting the protests.”
Certainly, the NFL’s television coverage is the product of a massive, multi-billion dollar industry and has been carefully curated from the get-go.  The issue here lies within the extenuating circumstances.
The league certainly understood that they would be facing a massive backlash over the coming protests and chose to air coverage of the various renditions of the National Anthem over the weekend.  This was a purposeful move to draw in viewers, at least for the beginning of the scheduled contests, with onlookers checking in to see which players, owners, and coaches would choose to make the offensive gesture before kickoff.  Then, after noting whose jerseys to burn, a great many Americans tuned out.
If these home viewers were additionally perturbed by the reality of their fellow countrymen actively jeering, there is a chance that their anger would increase to the point of no return…something that the NFL must be actively concerned about.  The league understood their opportunity to capture onlookers for a quick ratings respite, but also knew that inciting further anger via mob rule would affect their bottom line for weeks to come.
Simply put; the NFL powers-that-be understand exactly the situation that they are in, and are continuing to milk what’s left of their consumer-base for whatever they can.
Much of America just fell for a trick play.

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