Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Costly Backwash of Kneeling

The costly backlash of kneeling
By: Lauren Benkowski

The national anthem has always been a tradition and always will be to stand before the starting of every game to show respect for those who have served for us. However, a former quarterback of San Francisco 49ers, and now a free agent, Colin Kaepernick changed the mind of his and others on the meaning of the flag, all because of police brutality against African Americans. One action that made a culture war outburst that is now hurting the NFL immensely. Resulting in bringing politics to the NFL, it has reduced revenue in the restaurant industry in and around the stadium, merchandise stores, hotels and the tickets sales in the cities of where the stadiums stands. After, Donald Trump tweeted out, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our flag and country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or Suspend!”, people took this into consideration and stopped showing at their teams games.
Recently, Papa Johns, the official pizza company of the NFL, excluded their commercials from all NFL games on TV and lost monumental profit because since they promote the NFL, many fans thought that they were also promoting the kneeling which caused the demand in pizzas to decline and the supply to be even lower. Darren Rovell stated, “Papa John’s stock was down 8.5 percent”. That goes a long way when your considered the most recognized sponsor associated with the NFL for two years running. It’s a lose-lose situation when you don’t feature your product on a very popular channel and loose money but also, if you did feature it and people think your promoting the kneeling, they still won’t buy your product. Since the supply and demand took a poll, you won’t need as many employees to make the pizzas and even deliver them which creates a domino effect that affects other companies when one can’t afford any products because they are unemployed. Because Papa Johns took a course of action by taking their commercials off, their opportunity cost is that now people won’t think that they are supporting the kneeling as much. However, now that they aren’t receiving the demand they usually do, other pizza companies like: Pizza Hut, Little Caesar, Papa Murphy's, Dominos etc. will have a incline of demand which will also create business competition. The marginal cost of other pizza companies is going up because of the decline of Papa John’s product.
The NFL rating as a whole shows how much people have boycotted from watching any games from it decreasing five percent and going from 15.87 million viewers last season to 15.1 million viewers this season. According to Nielsen Data, “NBC is down 4%, CBS is down 6%, ABC is down 11% and Fox’s prime time viewership dropped 20% through the first month of new TV season”. With the decline of rating on each network, the network could lower the contract the NFL financially. For example, if a network contact was 5 billion dollars and it lowered to 4.5 billion this could affect the players in the long run when their contracts are up because of the NFL’s salary cap.
And this is what happens when politics come into play. A never ending heartbreak.
Works Cited
Davis, Julie Hirschfeld. “Trump Calls for Boycott If N.F.L. Doesn’t Crack Down on Anthem Protests.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Sept. 2017,
“Here's New Another Perspective on the NFL Ratings Drop.”,
“Papa John's Blames NFL Protests for Declining Sales.”,
Rovell, Darren. “Papa John's Says Anthem Protests Are Hurting Deal with NFL.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 1 Nov. 2017,


  1. Lauren, I found this topic very interesting because I was not very informed on it at all. I cannot believe that people would go so far to boycott going to the games just because some people refused to stand for the national anthem. I do not understand how refusing to go to the games will help this situation. I also am surprised at Papa Murphy's decision, because from your information it sounds like they are worse off. I am surprised that people would link the commercials during the games with the players disrespect to the national anthem/flag. In my opinion, I do not think that Papa Murphy's would be promoting this behavior if they kept advertising through NFL. The decision to kneel is ultimately up to the players, and no matter how many people in the stands don't show up, these players may still have the right to kneel if they want to. Overall, I think the people who refuse to show up are hurting the economy because of this.

    1. I didn't think that such a large amount of people would actually stop buying pizzas from Papa John's just because they're a sponsor of the NFL. It is shocking to see how many changes just 1 NFL player can cause from kneeling at a game. I agree with what the NFL player did by kneeling, because he doesn't like what the flag stands for and no one should have to do something they don't believe in. I also agree that there is a lot of police brutality against African Americans, but in reality it's the world we live in with awful stereotypes about any race other than white. Police brutality needs to come to an end, but standing up for what you believe in infront of thousands to see at a NFL game wasn't the right place to do so. Even if the player doesn't agree with the flag, standing still shows respect for the country we live in, so he pretty much bashed the whole nation by showing a high level of disrespect. Papa John's did the right thing by opting out of commercials, because continuing to do so could've ruined their reputation even more, but I've never eaten Papa Johns so this doesn't really effect me.

  2. I had heard about this issue before in many papers and television series but I had not realized the damage it had done. Money from other players, other companies and essentially all the employees that work at the companies, are being abused in this. One thing I question is if our president would not have tweeted about it, would this downfall have happened? So many people are, for some reason, attached to his tweets that they will listen to what he says without reason. Perhaps this political standpoint could’ve saved money and jobs in the long run but instead it was handled almost immaturely. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I like this topic because I didn’t really think that much economic downfall could come from the kneeling issue. It is interesting to see how the one action that players took during the national anthem of their games created an uproar from the community and into the economic part. I wasn’t aware that Papa John’s actually stopped airing their commercials because of the players kneeling. In a way, the players are the ones actually taking their own money away, because their actions were making fans not attend their games, or even watch the game on TV because they didn’t support their favorite players at the time. Overall, I think this is a really good topic, because I don’t think many people realized actually how much it impacted the economy, or that it did at all!

  4. I, for one, agree with Kaepernick's (and other players') decisions to kneel. We have to remember while, yes, the players are getting paid six figures or more to play a sport, they are also people with their own views and opinions. They have a podium everyday and people of all ages look up to them, so they have a responsibility to be a good person. Kneeling was not intended to offend the people that serve our country, it is about racism in certain police stations across the country and police brutality. While this may, and should anger police officers and army veterans that were nothing but lawful and respectful to everyone while they served, the system clearly needs to change and Kaepernick tried to bring attention to the issue.

    As for the ratings, I think the decrease in viewership should be expected. Not only for the kneeling, but less interesting games and more demand for quicker action (such as NFL Red Zone) rather than watching a full game definitely plays a factor.

  5. I thought this was an interesting topic because it's still an on going issue. By Colin Kapernick kneeling for the national anthem it has caused a lot of players to follow in his direction. But it's not like people don't want them to express themselves, its just that companies like papa johns pay millions of dollars to have their ads playing and they may not like the drama that the NFL consist of with the kneeling and protesting. So it is unfair to the companies that pay all that money and seeing a decrease in the percentage of people watching.

  6. I think players should be fined a certain amount so the NFL can get money back from low TV and ticket ratings. However, that's why I think they should be fined, and not necessarily suspended or fired. This is a free country and people can do what they want to express something. These players should stop kneeling since the NFL lost lots of money and are getting politics involved. Football should be fun and not a political debate. So if the players kneel, I won't mind because I believe in free speech, though it is disrespectful to veterans. So these players should do something outside of the actual game to stand for something they believe in to stop causing trouble and make people start watching football like they used to. Fining players for kneeling will make the NFL more money. TV and ticket ratings will increase value since more fans will come back being involved with the sport. (vinny)

  7. This is a very good topic because it shows just how much these modern day problems are effecting the economy of countless different industries. Particularly as you said, you see the some companies like Papa John's seeing economical losses due to the fact that their main source of advertising is being cut off due to the fact that what they would be advertising on, would come off as them continuously promoting the NFL, when the actions of the players obviously go against the companies morals. This just shows how the actions of important/famous individuals and organizations in our world can have a huge economical impacts on multiple companies and industries.

  8. I thought your information about Papa Johns is really interesting and it is not something I was currently aware of. I was curious as to what other brands have been hurt by the NFL players actions because of their relationships with the league. I think that if Papa Johns wants to try and increase their sales again then they need to make it clear that they stopped showing their commercials to show their stand against the issue because I never knew they did this until reading your post. By publicizing this more and reaching the customers who are boycotting their company it will help being them back and make them realize that they are both on the same side and eventually bring some of their sales back up.

  9. This is a very relevant and interesting topic in pop-culture today due to such a change in tradition. There is no hiding that it has caused a big amount of backlash, but what has all been affected by it? What would be interesting to see is the opportunity cost of not standing. In both the actual cost of fines and by diminishing their reputation.

  10. This is a really controversial topic and a lot of people do get affected by things like this. Personally, I didn't even notice that papa johns stopped advertising on NFL games and it is interesting to see the people would assume that the advertisements on the game would support the kneeling and decrease total revenue. Very interesting and something I would have never thought of happening, but it is making a huge dent in those businesses sales.

  11. I think this is a very interesting topic and obviously there is many different viewpoints on the issue. One thing that can't be debated is the decline in popularity in the NFL. I know many people who will just flat out refuse to watch, or will only watch packer games, when in the past they would watch games from 12 to 10 every sunday. Obviously, this has hurt the NFL's ratings and has caused many companies like Papa Johns to stop advertising. Some comments are saying the NFL should fine the people who kneel but the only thing that would do, in my opinion, is give the NFL more bad PR by not respecting players rights. By fining them, not only are they not going to make back nearly the amount they are losing due to their reputation deflating, but in my opinion it would only ruin their rep even more.

  12. This topic really showcases how one small act of rebellion can cause a huge chain reaction. When Kapernick first knelt down during the national anthem I doubt he knew he would cause the demand for Papa Johns Pizza to decline! It will be very interesting to see how the players choose to react to more and more backing Kapernick. As more players begin to follow in Kapernick's footsteps I wonder if the publicity of the issue will cause more people to watch or if the disapproval of what he stands for will force people to avoid watching. Great topic to think about nice job!

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