Proposed boycott of the NFL didn’t stop fans from attending Veterans Day weekend games

More than 20,000 people vowed to tune out the NFL, but plenty more fans were happy to take their seats.

The Denver Broncos cheerleaders wear green to celebrate the NFL's Salute to Service prior to an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The Denver Broncos cheerleaders wear green to celebrate the NFL's Salute to Service prior to an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Going into Veterans Day weekend, over 20,000 people on social media had stated their intention to boycott NFL games because of the ongoing player protests of police brutality and systemic racism during the national anthem.

“We will be not be watching or listening to NFL games on November 12th in solidarity with veterans around the country, as football players have continued to disrespect the national anthem, the American flag, and everything our nation stands for,” boycott organizers wrote on Facebook, according to the IndyStar.

But despite the boycott — which included a New Jersey bar that refused to show NFL games on Sunday — attendance numbers were actually up over the weekend, as reported by Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports. The weekend’s television ratings, which have been on a similar downward trajectory as overall television programming in recent years, have not yet been made available. 

Those who did boycott the game missed some touching (and some over-the-top) moments from the league, which went out of its way to showcase how much it cares about veterans and the military. Everywhere you looked on Veterans Day weekend in the NFL — from the pre-game flyovers to the in-game honors, the cheerleaders’ uniforms to the sideline decorations —  there were grandiose displays of appreciation for the military, which has a history of paying NFL franchises millions of dollars in exchange for their patriotism.

Many of the players who have been protesting during the national anthem this season refrained from doing so this weekend. Last week, the NFL Players Union agreed that all NFL players would participate in to a two-minute moment of silence before games to honor U.S. military veterans.

Eric Reid and Marquise Goodwin of the San Francisco 49ers, and Olivier Vernon of the New York Giants, were the only three NFL players to take a knee during the national anthem on Sunday. Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks stood with his teammates on Thursday night when the Seahawks played, but plans to continue his protest of police brutality the rest of the season.