By Christy Strawser

(WWJ) James Olson, a Sports Illustrated subscriber since fourth grade, watches action-packed NFL games on TV to escape from the endless round of political bickering playing out on other channels.

But with more national anthem protests cropping up, he feels like politics has taken over his favorite sport, too. So he’s tuning out.

“I want to say to these guys ‘If you weren’t playing in the NFL, you would be working at McDonalds. I think people have had it,” said, Olson, a Birmingham, Mich., resident.

He’s not alone.

The NFL opener, a Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, brought 25.2 million viewers — which is an astonishing number of eyeballs. “For comparison, The Walking Dead averages around 14 million live viewers as TV’s most-watched show,” Forbes wrote.

But that’s down 8 percent from 2015 and 6 percent from 2014. Sunday’s numbers, Forbes added, were down 13 percent from last year.

“This also marked the lowest overnight season-opening rating in seven years,” Forbes found.

In a hot and heavy political season with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lobbing verbal bombs at each other seemingly all day, every day, while the media breathlessly follows along, it’s just too much, Olson said.

“Sports used to not be a stage for this, and now it is, so I’m turning it off,” he said. “I refused to watch the Chicago-Philadelphia game because they were going to protest …You start to figure out you can get along without football, there are other things out there I can do.”

He spent his Sunday, instead, watching part of a soccer game, spending time outside, and then working out.

The #boycottNFL hashtag on Twitter has hundreds of participants who are urging others to send a message to NFL owners and Roger Goodell by sitting out games, turning off the TV and refusing to buy merchandise.

“We’re also pissed that the owners aren’t doing anything, that the coaches aren’t doing anything and the coaches aren’t doing anything,” Olson said. “You can do this on our own time. Rent a stage somewhere and see if you can get a crowd of 70,000 people.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the wave when he pointedly kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Other NFL players later joined his peaceful demonstration.

The players have plenty of support. A high school team in Seattle followed Kaepernick’s lead.

“We were talking about things that were happening, taking place in society, and it went from the young men talking about the social injustice that they face on a day to day basis from coaches sharing their stories… And through our conversation, the players decided to do this. To make this movement,” the coach told The Daily Beast.

And here’s the other side: “The owners should force them not to use the NFL as a stage for their political beliefs,” Olson said.  “Once this whole thing starts, it was like ‘you know what, you’re a moron. What is wrong with you?'” Olson said.






Comments (327)
  1. Ralph Adams says:

    I’ve got better things to do than patronize an industry that is turning its back on my country.

    1. Edie Faylor says:

      I am boycotting the NFL! A bunch of whiny overpaid and ungrateful people, they should all move somewhere else! Nobody has the guts to stop this, starting with the Commissioner, to the Owners and the Coaches – shame on you all. Take you ball and play somewhere else, I am no longer interested!

    2. carlos broker says:

      There are many, many other things to do and watch other than overpaid individuals spitting on the country that made them millionaires overnight.

  2. dieter says:

    I hope by midseason their only tv ads are for “wonder” supplements and sketchy dating websites.

  3. Mike Knox says:

    I stopped watching when Costas started pushing gun control. The tax exempt NFL pimps leftest propaganda just like the rest of the lamestream media. Sometimes the local media steps up. Thanks CBSDetriot. The national media will no doubt have us believe their ratings are up because they control reality.

    1. Mark says:

      same here Mike. Roger Goodell is a wimp. Sick of all the politically correct BS. Its not the same, and I am finding other ways to spend my time.
      I stopped watching the NBA many years ago too for some of the same reasons. Kids in the youth leagues were picking up on the bad habits of the pros…don’t miss it at all.

  4. SharpShtik says:

    Leftists ruin everything they gain control of, e.g., federal, state and local governments, charities, NFL, NBA and other businesses, to promote their insane politics, such as forcing females to share privacy rooms and sports with sexually insane Democrat males who merely wish they were females and trying to force police to let minority Democrats commit even more crime without intervention.

    1. FRANK D AMOS says:

      Spot on my friend……

  5. Kim Watson says:

    The players are setting the wrong example for our sons. We have chosen to invest our entertainment time and money elsewhere.

    And, I do wish that the players would move their citizenship to a country that they can love and respect. But that would require the courage of conviction to their beliefs,…. and I suspect that they are just “pretending” for the publicity. Time will tell.

  6. sillysally says:

    When they stick their noses in political discourse whether it’s hating America or sticking their noses in whether we should allow men into public women’s bathrooms, I will never watch or go to another game. Get out of politics, that is not your place. It is not entertaining. It makes me mad and guess what. I don’t really enjoy that.

  7. Jammy Weinstein says:

    People awakening to the reality football is fake and is a form of brainwash. Romans called Gladiator Arena fight ake and Circus.

    1. Mark says:

      actually Jammy, it was called “bread and circus”

  8. Mike Arnett says:

    I wish I could say I am a recent boycotter, but I have been spending Sundays without these twits and with my family since the Michael Vick debacle, f uck that he is. Glad to see others are waking up.

  9. CO Jones says:

    The NFL hates America and men. Its players wears pink to raise awareness of breast cancer, not blue for prostate cancer.

    It also pays extortion money to feminists per domestic violence, though men are half the victims.

    Anything feminists or liberals touch turns to excreta.

    1. Boycott NFL says:

      Men do not make up half of the victims. They actually make up 71 percent of the victims.

  10. zamzummim says:

    There is a domino effect. Advertising, sports restaurants, related Websites, Sports shops, high school and college football, etc. are also or will be hurting.

  11. SantaFeSteve says:

    I am not watching Black Racist Traitors. I am not listening to sports announcers that do not think that police are innocent until proven guilty in court. I am not funding cowardly franchise owners. There are many groups in the U.S. who have had a harder time than African Americans. Hispanics and Native Americans are two but there are others. African Americans are whiners and complainers and they make me sick. I am not watching them.

    But I oppose racial or other bias. I do not see Hispanics or Native Americans insulting our National Anthem. I do not see those interned during WWII insulting the National Anthem. Only African Americans making millions of dollars insult our National Anthem. I do not wish them well.

  12. Cody says:

    Good bye NFL. I actually am following soccer more now as it is always moving. Plus I enjoy seeing all of the countries players and colors and fans having a good time. Same for Formula 1. Both are much more interesting to me.

  13. sully says:

    If the ratings don’t improve as the season progresses, there’s a problem…

  14. Dan Morgan says:

    I found alot of better things to do on Sundays, and are better for the family also. I guess this is the beginning of the end of the NFL. It’s really ok with me. America should come first with every single one of us !

  15. Patrick says:

    Instead of just going to get another glass of tea during the National Anthem I change the channel now. Sometimes I forget that I was watching the ballgame and just leave it alone when I come back in the room. So, it just happens this way. People find something else to watch or just forget about it and there you go. Less enthusiasm for games generates less viewers and this of course generates lower ratings. Easy stuff. I say leave the players in the locker room and bring them out after the anthem. Easy fix.

  16. Watch the NFL games, if you must, but write down a list of all the commercials. Enjoy the game. Boycott the advertisers.

  17. Warnmy says:

    I won’t watch NFL anymore, and I won’t go back. Got yardwork to do anyway, and it is more productive.

  18. johns79 says:

    A lions fan that doesn’t want to watch they play is normal.

  19. LostaFan88 says:

    It’s because the incredibly loud and obnoxious Adam Schein was put on NFL Today.
    Boorish, intrusive and poor insight into the game make it un watchable.
    The “Howard Cosell” reverse psychology entertainment move is so 1970s.
    We don’t want to listen to him rudely interrupt great players with his inane, loud comments.
    Did I say he was LOUD.
    It is unwatchable.
    Get rid of him from this show.

  20. William Tang says:

    I am taking a knee on NFL.

  21. James Kent says:

    Koepernick was adopted and raised by an affluent white couple. Someone buy this man a ticket to an african country to see how he might be living.

  22. Tomas says:

    Interjecting politics into a team sport called entertainment is more like something a communist country would do. How and when did we switch from a republic to a third world communist country? Its very plain to see that ESPN has a liberal agenda to its reporting.

  23. Rick says:

    gave up on espn some time ago, now I wait until the second quarter to watch football. if I do watch the beginning whatever I see on commercials I know to NEVER buy or use

  24. Gary says:

    I tuned out of the NFL as well, maybe after the NFL fines these protester then maybe i start to watch again. Take their money and watch how fast they stop protesting.

  25. Wiley Thruster says:

    Blame The Extra Sensitive Progressive Network and the Libs that run the league.

  26. Chris Long says:

    “Are National Anthem Protests Costing NFL Viewership?”

    How stupid of a question can this local-yokel CBS station ask ?

    No ! It’s because people are afraid of Zika Virus…

  27. Rick says:

    I have not watched a single game this year and don plan to watch, also haven’t bought 1 item with NFL on it.

  28. John Dillon says:

    {plays a small violin} It’s your right to be an American hating, US flag burning, ISIS supporter. It’s my right to boycott your stupidity and put you out of the job for being a traitor to MY country, not yours. Funny how that works.

  29. Constance Underfoot says:

    Well, since I change the channel and won’t watch the game if one guy kneels, Yeah, I’m going to be it has a huge impact on ratings.

    And if one guy on my team kneels, then I’m done.

    Like football, love my country.

  30. HenryC says:

    I watch sports to get away from societies problems. Yes, I have not watched any NFL games because I simply don’t want to hear about it.

  31. They didn’t stay neutral, they had to have an agenda, from gay to transgender and I am weary of it. So they can use all of their acquired cache and spend it on furthering, or should I say crow barring the lefts favorite subjects. I have better things to do. RIP NFL

  32. “Sports used to not be a stage for this, and now it is, so I’m turning it off,” [Olsen said].

    What have you been watching, Mr. Olsen? Sports became the media stage for politics (i.e.. political correctness) on 9/7/79. Where do you think the idea of the “participation trophy” was hatched?

  33. James Williams says:

    So far, I’m doing a PARTIAL boycott. I only watch my team and never tune in to others.

  34. FRANK D AMOS says:

    The NFL needs to leave politics and social issues out of the spotlight, one reason viewership is at current levels is to escape those very issues for the most part. Hello…..

  35. Larry Mehlbauer says:

    Actually, NFL games have gotten to be as boring as the NBA. Their lack of imagination is as bad as their obsession with political correctness.

  36. Tabitha says:

    Their decision not to air the National Anthem tonight proves that CBS and the NFL don’t deserve my patronage. No NFL gear for Christmas this year or ever unless they decide to support this nation rather than supporting the element that wants to destroy it.

  37. eddy says:

    want to see the NFL in action for free ? go to the courthouse and watch the player’s indictments .

  38. Go says:

    Until this situation is resolved by the NFL I will not watch another game.

  39. Victor E Katz says:

    I’ve quit watching . . ungrateful spoiled divas that make up the NFL aren’t worth the electricity it takes to watch a game . .

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