Super Bowl LIII Boycotted
Super Bowl LIII took place Feb. 3, 2019, between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. However, this year’s game was not as warmly received as it has been in the past. Several celebrities decided to boycott the Super Bowl to show their support for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The Twitter stand began by film director Ava Duvernay, saying on Sunday:
“I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #Super Bowl today in protest of the @NFL’s racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health (and) well-being of all its players. To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It’s not worth it. #ImWithKap.”
Other celebrities that expressed their support using the hashtag #ImWithKap included Nick Cannon, Common, LeBron James, Rosanna Arquette, Chamillionaire, Jaylen Brown, and Kevin Durant.
Billboard confirmed in September that Maroon 5 was set to perform during the halftime show for Super Bowl LIII, along with appearances by Travis Scott and Big Boi. However, a plethora of other performers turned down the opportunity to stand in solidarity with Kaepernick. Those who turned down the opportunity included P!nk, Rihanna, and Cardi B.
In her speech during the MTV VMAs in 2017, Cardi B discussed her consistent support for Kaepernick saying, “Colin Kaepernick, As long as you kneel with us, we gonna be standing for you, baby.”
However, more than just celebrities and athletes boycotted the game. Since 2010, the average number of viewers in the United States has been very inconsistent. According to Statista in 2015, there was an average of 114.4 million, in 2016 there was 111.9, 2017 was 111.3 and 2018 there was a reported average of 103.4 million viewers.
Super Bowl LIII is estimated to have garnered just less than 100 million viewers.
According to a report from CNN, about 45 percent of households in the United States were watching the game, whereas last year’s game had about 47.5 percent of households viewing.
It is hard to say if the drop was due to boycotts or the game itself.
Time will tell whether the viewership decline will have a strong enough impact on the NFL for the organization to make a change in their decision regarding Kaepernick and the controversy of kneeling during the national anthem.