- The NFL shifted its stance on kneeling during the national anthem when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league was wrong to discourage players from peacefully protesting.
- Some fans were angry with the league for abandoning the argument that kneeling disrespects the flag, while others felt Goodell did not go far enough and should have apologised to Colin Kaepernick by name.
- Fans from both sides of the debate vowed to boycott the NFL through tweets with hashtags such as #boycottnfl, #nflboycott, #boycottthenfl, #nokaepernicknonfl, and more.
- The team at sportsinsider.com used geotagged Twitter data to determine which US states have the most calls to boycott the league.
- Mississippi, Florida, and Iowa lead the charge, while other states throughout the Midwest and South round out the majority of the top-10 states planning to boycott the NFL.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The NFL was the birthplace of the kneeling movement.
Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem as a means to protest police brutality against Black people in the United States. Though the then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback repeatedly explained his true intentions, many misconstrued Kaepernick’s gesture as disrespectful to the American flag and those fighting in the military.
Shortly after that, the league blackballed Kaepernick and briefly instituted a rule to force players to either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room while it played. The NFL was far from supportive of the dual-threat quarterback’s gesture.
Its been nearly four years since Kaepernick last played in the league, but the NFL is finally ready to embrace peaceful protests within its ranks.
In a video released by the league early in June, Goodell admitted the NFL was wrong to dissuade and prevent players from taking part in actions like Kaepernick’s and said league leaders now “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” Goodell even went as far as to “welcome” a team to sign Kaepernick a few weeks later.
Goodell’s stunning reversal came in light of George Floyd’s death and the United States’ reckoning with race relations that followed. And while many fans applauded the league for owning up to its mistakes and reforming its stance, others were furious with the league’s responses to the cultural moment.
Some fans were angry with the league for abandoning the argument that kneeling disrespects the flag. In contrast, others felt Goodell did not go far enough and should have apologised to Kaepernick by name in his initial statement. People on both sides of the debate chose to express their frustration by vowing to boycott the NFL and tweeting with hashtags such as #boycottnfl, #nflboycott, #boycottthenfl, #nokaepernicknonfl, and more.
The team of sports betting experts, oddsmakers, and industry analyst at sportsinsider.com dug into the data from more than 100,000 tweets to determine which US states are the most passionate about boycotting the NFL. Using trends software with direct access to geotagged twitter data, they found that states throughout the Midwest and South were the most active in tweeting about protesting the league.
Mississippi, Florida, and Iowa lead the charge in the online NFL boycott movement, while Missouri and Tennessee round out the top five.
Here’s the full boycott NFL top 10:
1. Mississippi 2. Florida 3. Iowa 4. Missouri 5. Tennessee 6. Alabama 7. South Carolina 8. Texas 9. Maine 10. Indiana
And here’s Sports Insider’s map depicting which US states boast the most and least boycott activity on Twitter:
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