Colin Kaepernick has been a subject many NFL teams have tried to avoid after his national anthem protests during the 2016 season.
But with the news that the Baltimore Ravens have Kaepernick on their radar following Joe Flacco’s back injury, we could very well see the divisive quarterback back on another NFL roster this year.
In light of that, it’s worth looking at look at how Kaepernick’s protests affected the NFL as a whole in 2016.
According to a new J.D. Power survey, the quarterback’s antics were the No. 1 reason fans watched fewer games last year.
— J.D. Power (@JDPower) July 27, 2017
J.D. Power asked more than 9,200 fans whether they had watched fewer games in 2016, and 12 percent said they had.
Twenty-six percent of these fans referred to Kaepernick and his protests as the reason.
In second place to Kaepernick’s protests as a reason fans watched fewer games were “off-the-field image issues with domestic violence or with game delays, including penalties,” cited by 24 percent of those surveyed, according to ESPN. These kinds of issues have persisted this offseason, highlighted by the Dallas Cowboys’ seemingly endless string of troubling incidents.
According to a 2015 study, the NFL arrest rate is actually lower than that of the general public: 1 in every 45 players compared with the national average of nonplayers at 1 in 23.
One in five of those who told J.D. Power they watched fewer NFL games last year cited excessive commercials and advertising as a major factor. The NFL has been working to improve the experience for viewers at home.
Sixteen percent said they shifted their attention to coverage of the 2016 presidential election, while 5 percent said they watched fewer games because they no longer had cable television.
Last year, Kaepernick finished 26th of the eligible 30 quarterbacks in completion percentage and 23rd in quarterback rating. The 49ers were a mere 1-10 in games in which he started behind center.
With Kaepernick’s statistical decline on the field as well as the NFL’s drop in viewership because of his protests, a Kaepernick return to the NFL might see both of their ratings continue to fall.
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