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A J.D. Power survey found that national anthem protests were the greatest reason NFL fans watched fewer games during the 2016 professional football season.

An article written by ESPN's Darren Rovell shared the survey data and results.

J.D. Power sampled a universe of 9,200 people who went to at least one football, basketball, or hockey game.

The survey found that twenty-six percent watched fewer games due to national anthem protests.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his protest during the 2016 NFL preseason.

Following a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick told NFL Media reporter Steve Wyche, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Other survey results reported by Rovell:

  • Twenty-four percent of those surveyed stated they watched fewer games due to domestic violence and other off-the-field issues.
  • Twenty percent watched fewer games due to excessive commercials.
  • Sixteen percent were more interested in the 2016 presidential race.
  • Five percent watched fewer games because they terminated their cable.

Overall, networks that broadcast professional football games saw an 8 percent drop in viewers during the 2016 season compared to the 2015 season. However, the survey also found that 62 percent of people tuned into just as many games as they did during the previous season.