The National Football League is facing a growing problem due to irate fans and unhappy advertisers. The ongoing protests among its players and the kneeling for the national anthem has angered their core base of support among fans.
Another longtime advertiser has announced its withdrawal from NFL participation. Flemington Car and Truck Country, a massive car dealer in New Jersey, will pull all their ads for the remainder of the football season.
Players have continued to protest the National Anthem and police officers, even after the deadly mass shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas. Irate viewers flooded the switchboards at NFL headquarters in New York City.
Flemington owner Steve Kalafer said in a statement the American flag protests are disrespectful, and he will not support them with his advertising dollars anymore: “The National Football League and its owners have shown their fans and marketing partners that they do not have a comprehensive policy to ensure that players stand and show respect for America and our flag during the playing of the national anthem. We have canceled all of our NFL advertising on the Optimum and Infinity cable networks.”
Kalafer is also part of the Somerset Patriots’ ownership group, which is an independent professional baseball team. It is expected that more advertisers will follow his lead in the coming days and weeks.
The Flemington owner added, “As the NFL parses the important nationwide issues of ‘social justice’ and ‘freedom of speech,’ it is clear that a firm direction by them is not forthcoming.” There was no comment from the NFL.
The irate advertiser noted that his customers and employees overwhelmingly agreed that the kneeling and arm-locking was disrespectful. He said, “I’m talking to 99-percent of my contacts, and they agree that it’s disrespectful, it’s improper. We couldn’t support the lack of direction.”
Kalafer had supported the players’ freedom of speech. He believes the true blame is with the team owners, who have not taken a leadership role in responding to the players’ outrageous displays. The lack of intervention has made the situation worse in his opinion.
It can be assumed that the powers-that-be in the NFL rankings are deeply concerned about this growing discontent from revenue-producers. The owners have the prerogative to ask the players union to suggest its membership find better venues than a football game for their grievances.
Protesting on television to a viewership interested in a form of relaxation would appear not the place to protest police, veterans, and first-responders. As Kalafer said, “Everyone should be involved in true social justice to make sure we’re looking at our communities and seeing how we can make them better, fairer and more equitable.”
That isn’t Americans watching a football game. The latest trend is a devastating financial loss for the NFL, which is already suffering from low ratings and a decision by DirecTV to refund subscription fees for the NFL Sunday Ticket package.