Football has been labeled an American pastime, and is one of the most watched sports in history.

From Sunday and Monday night football, to the 51st Super Bowl, America is always tuned in to the sport.

That is changing, however, as the National Football League has continually made the same mistake throughout the year.

The NFL decided to become a political platform, and the network’s ratings are still taking a big hit because of it.

The New York Times reports:

N.F.L. officials pointed to the country’s obsession with the presidential campaign as a big reason the league’s television ratings fell during much of the regular season.

Not only did the Super Bowl showcase political advertisements during its coveted commercial spots, but NFL players are still protesting social justice issues, as well as the results of the election.

The New York Times reports:

The politically charged atmosphere that has enveloped the country the last few months comes after a wobbly year for the country’s premier sports league. It began with one of its top stars, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, serving a four-game suspension for his role in a suspected scheme to deflate footballs in a playoff game two years ago. At the same time, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick set off a national debate by refusing to stand for the national anthem as a way to shine a light on police brutality.

The NFL attempted to argue with the New York Times that the political undercurrent is caused only by their players, whom they supposedly have little control over when it comes to making political statements.

The New York Times reports:

The league is certainly powerful, but I don’t know how you control it when you have media day with the teams on the field with not just sports reporters and television networks, but people from ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and you name it, and asking questions that have nothing to do with the game,” said Ed Goren, the former executive producer and vice chairman of Fox Sports. “Because it’s the Super Bowl, the questions are going to get asked.”

While some from the NFL claim to avoid political topics and find the idea of politics in football off-putting, the evidence speaks for itself.

The New York Times reports:

You know, we’re aware of the conversations going on, and the division,” Goodell said. “As commissioner of the N.F.L., I’m singularly focused on the Super Bowl right now. As I said before, we have a unique position to have an event on Sunday that will bring the world together. They will have an opportunity to be entertained, to feel good about what we’re doing, and that’s something that we feel very proud of, and it’s something we’re going to continue to be focused on.”

Ultimately, the loss in ratings the NFL has found themselves experiencing is due to their political stances, both on and off the field.

The New York Times reports:

The league has also had to grapple with a worrying decline in TV ratings, the bread and butter of its growth. This season was the first when every major broadcast partner’s ratings slipped, which some analysts say could represent a slowing of the league’s long rise.

What are your thoughts?

Do you appreciate that a sports league which should be focusing on entertainment is instead making political statements?

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