Colin Kaepernick and NFL National Anthem Protests: how the Fans Feel

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Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players protesting The National Anthem have been causing quite a stir among various news outlets. Forbes reports the NFL is hemorrhaging viewers over the protests while others are reporting up to 32% of viewers are tuning out. What’s going on inside the stadiums though? What are football’s most loyal fans talking about in the stands? We decided to use our own technology to take a look and see how sports marketers and even journalists can interpret and use what is being said.

First, we headed to Levi’s Stadium, where Kaepernick started the movement just a few weeks ago.


she sat with us during anthem…. thank you whoever you are

A photo posted by Jason Maples (@55coachmaples24) on


That was about all the chatter we saw in regards to a protest but that could have also been because the little girl who sang the national anthem for Sunday’s game stole the show:


Of course, this wasn’t enough for us to determine how the fans are feeling. We decided we couldn’t figure out how those ride-or-die football fanatics really felt about the protests until we checked out a few more stadiums. Next on the list was MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and Jets, who happened to play the outspoken Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

@seahawks linking arms for the anthem #GoHawks #SEAatNYJ

A video posted by TEmCee (@coopz22) on


The Dolphins are another team making waves by protesting The National Anthem during the opening week. We decided to check out Paul Brown Stadium where they played against the Bengals on Thursday night. Though we didn’t see any protesting coming from players or fans (on social media). We did learn something new: apparently there are A LOT of Dolphins fans in Cincinnati:

Even though we lost, I had a blast hanging with this crew #tailgate #FinsUp #weparty #nfl @miamidolphins

A photo posted by Jason Shepherd (@shepdogg937) on


Last, we thought we’d see what went on at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots got shut out by the Bills. The Patriots were another team who had a few players protest opening week but as far as social media is concerned, all was quiet on Sunday. So, there’s not a lot of chatter coming from the stadiums but how about elsewhere on social media? We did an overall search for “NFL National Anthem” and found the term has over 66% negative sentiment, opposed to about 12% positive.

Most of the tweets we uncovered were actually just this tweet above, retweeted over a thousand times. Aside from that, an overwhelming majority were from news outlets.

In conclusion? According to our quick search on social media, it looks like the fair-weather football fans are the ones making statements against the NFL. For those on the ground, tailgating in the parking lots rain or shine, whether it is on the sideline or in the nosebleed seats, sports marketers and team owners are noticing nothing is going to take away fan’s love of the game.

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