With the controversy surrounding the NFL in 2017, many are considering Super Bowl LII a guilty pleasure. The national news has been peppered with reports of small businesses and local groups of people who have vowed to turn off their televisions instead of supporting the league.
This appears to be a minority, though. According to Joe Drape of the New York Times, nearly 61 percent of Americans claimed to be outraged by the protests. This same 61 percent also plan on tuning in to the most anticipated game of the season–the Super Bowl. This is a testimony to the way that many are willing to set their outrage aside in the name of entertainment.
Travis Waldron of the Huffington Post pointed out that viewers are more forgiving of the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots because of their lack of protest participation later on in the season. Both teams returned their focus to the sport—making them redeemable for many fans offended by the actions of others.
Waldron wrote, “And so, at Super Bowl LII, notwithstanding Monday night’s Black Lives Matter protest in St. Paul, the NFL’s blackest year will end with the absence of agitation itself.”
Even Malcolm Jenkins of the Eagles was willing to curb his protests after an agreement that prompted huge charitable contributions to “social and racial-justice oriented campaigns.”
Web searches on this year’s Super Bowl turn up everything from an analysis of the halftime show to the best ways to watch without cable. The boycott that dominated front pages only a few short months ago seems to have been swept under the proverbial rug. There are still stories hovering at the edges of some major news providers, but most are being buried under more positive coverage.
Todd Starnes, an Opinion columnist for Fox News released an article on Sunday that details businesses from New York to Texas who are publicly refusing to broadcast the Super Bowl in their establishments. Many are veteran-owned, or chapters of the VFW. The protests had a personal effect on many, and they haven’t been forgotten by those who felt that they were included in the disrespect shown by players and their supporters.
Most don’t think that this will have any real impact on the revenue generated by the largest game of the year. Many Americans adopt a holiday-like attitude on “Super Bowl Sunday.” They prepare special foods and make every effort to take time away from work in order to enjoy a sport that’s been down–but obviously isn’t out.
The real proof will come when numbers are tallied after Super Bowl LII is over. Things may be looking up for the battered league—only time (and future protests) will tell.