Yes, the headline is accurate.
The NFL Players’ Association – the players union – honored currently unemployed controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the Week 1 MVP.
The union gave Kaepernick the MVP award based on his community service – obviously not for his nonexistent on the field performance.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Colin Kaepernick is not currently in the NFL, but that didn’t stop the NFL Players’ Association from naming the 29-year-old its Week 1 MVP.
The award, which is open to current NFL players and free agents actively seeking to return to the league, went to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback “for his commitment to empowering underserved communities through donations and grassroots outreach.”
Keeping Kaepernick in the headlines is not going to help the NFL with the league’s poor TV ratings and attendance after week one.
The drop in TV ratings for week one was reported by MoneyWatch:
These days, however, the most popular U.S. professional sport isn’t such a sure bet. According to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser, viewership for the NFL was down 14 percent on a year-over-year basis during the first week of the 2017-18 season. That’s the lowest level of same-week viewing since 2009.
The story mentions a host of reasons for the drop in viewership, including Kaepernick, “Others have pointed to the controversy around former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a fan turn-off.”
The drop in viewership is not the NFL’s only problem.
Week 1 attendance at football stadiums was also highlighted in the media.
Week 1 of the NFL season had plenty of important stories worth following, but maybe the most entertaining was the mostly empty stadiums in Los Angeles and Santa Clara. Both the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers had sparse crowds for their home openers, and that has not gone unnoticed by the NFL.
The story shows pictures of a few stadiums with a huge number of empty seats but it does not mention player protests during the National Anthem as a reason for the fall in attendance.
Instead, it assigns the drop in fan attendance to stadium relocation.
Of course, there are multiple excuses from the NFL but it’s a mistake not to acknowledge the brand damage caused by Kaepernick and the number of players following his lead.
The NFL’s Kaepernick problem is not going away. In addition to the NFL Players’ Association award, singer Jay Z dedicated a song to the free agent quarterback.
CBS News reports:
But on Friday, Jay Z, performing his first headline concert in three years in his hometown of New York City, mentioned Kaepernick by name during the show.
“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay Z said before performing “The Story of O.J.,” according to ESPN.com. The song is from Jay Z’s new album, “4:44.”
“I want to dedicate this song to anyone that was held back and you overcame,” Jay Z added, while also dedicating the song to legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory, who died last month.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is responsible for the continuing brand damage of player protests during the National Anthem.
The entire issue would have been avoided if Goodell banned on the field protests after Kaepernick’s first publicity stunt last year.