Trump 1 – NFL 0
Common sense dictates football players igniting a national controversy by protesting during the National Anthem would negatively impact the NFL brand.
Despite the logic of the argument, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell refused to end the protests and now the data is showing the NFL brand is damaged.
The New York Times reports:
About three weeks ago — before President Trump said that N.F.L. owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem — Democrats and Republicans held relatively similar views about the league. About 60 percent said they viewed it favorably, while about 20 percent said they viewed it unfavorably, according to daily online surveys conducted by Morning Consult, a polling, media and technology company.
Since Mr. Trump’s remarks, though, many of his supporters have changed their attitudes.
Trump voters are now much more likely to say that they view the N.F.L. negatively, reflecting a sharp change around Sept. 23, when Mr. Trump criticized the players at a speech in Alabama. The views of Hillary Clinton voters have not changed appreciably over the last few weeks.
With a net favorability of -24 from Trump voters, the story concludes, “The N.F.L. is now among the nation’s most divisive brands….”
Hillary Clinton voters view the league favorably with a +38 net favorability.
NFL head Goodell is trying to fix the controversy. Goodell sent a letter to all team owners expressing his concerns about the controversy and stressed the importance of standing during the National Anthem.
CNN Money reports:
In a letter to team executives that was obtained by CNNMoney, Goodell wrote that the dispute “is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.”
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” he wrote. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
With the National attention on the controversy, it’s highly likely more on the field protests will occur on Sunday making Goodell’s letter a little too late.
Beyond the damage to the NFL brand, the results of this survey is a huge warning sign to CEOs that engage in anti-American or anti-Trump rhetoric.