Colin Kaepernick is the NFL’s most controversial player. Some think he’s woke while others call him a joke.
It all started when he decided to protest racial injustice and inequality during the National Anthem, then we had a Fidel Castro t-shirt, some poor performances on the field, and a mid-game benching this past Sunday.
But through it all, Kaepernick has kept his afro held high and remains the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback entering Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
There is something more to the Kaepernick story, however.
Along with having a negative impact on the field for his team, could Kaepernick be impacting the league as a whole? The evidence seems to indicate that the answer is a strong “yes.”
Earlier in the season, a Yahoo/YouGov poll showed 29% of NFL fans are watching less football than they have in previous years. A whopping 40% of those people said that Kaepernick was their reason for tuning out the league, while 53% said it was the league-wide protests as a whole that had them turning off the television.
The reason was especially prominent in people 55 and over.
Overall, NFL ratings are down as many as 20 points in some markets and fewer fans are turning out to see their favorite teams in their home stadiums. It could have to do with the high cost of attending a game and attempting to stuff your face with $10 nachos and overpriced booze, but it’s hard to deny that Kaepernick has had a direct impact on the game.
Kaepernick gets booed where he goes and has even been made into a pinata and had beer tossed on him, but he somehow keeps his cool. San Francisco just has to wish that would lead to some more positive results in his play.
This week, Kaepernick will once again have a chance at redemption after being benched last week.
The 49ers have confirmed he will once again start, but he will likely be on a very short lease. If he does well, it will be another reason for the pro-Kaepernick crowd to cheer. If he fails, chalk one up to angry folks hoping he never plays another down.
Whatever happens, the NFL will just hope that you are watching and the post-game presser is going to be straight fire.