Jim Irsay on anthem protests: ‘I think it’s the wrong venue’
Jim Irsay became the latest NFL owner to weigh in on the protest movement originally spawned by Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the national anthem.
And much like the others who have made their respective opinions known, the frequently outspoken Indianapolis Colts owner views the anthem protests from a negative perspective.
In essence, Irsay argues that the NFL is at its core entertainment. Given that status, Irsay believes wading into potentially controversial waters — by players, owners and anyone else affiliated with the league — should be avoided.
“I think it’s the wrong venue,” Irsay told USA Today, via the Indy Star. “It hasn’t been a positive thing. What we all have to be aware of as players, owners, PR people, equipment managers, is when the lights go on we are entertainment. We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself.”
Irsay joins Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who have voiced concern over the player protests. Given Irsay’s comments were given within the framework of a discussion concerning the NFL’s suffering ratings lends credence to the suspicion that these owners believe the protests play at least some detrimental role in the decline in viewership.
The NFL obviously faces many issues. But even a slight drop in ratings, while raising some semblance of concern among its owners and the league office — which has been conspicuously silent on the anthem protests — isn’t unlikely to inspire sweeping, wholesale changes with how the NFL conducts its business. At least at this stage.
But it’s abundantly clear, given the comments of Irsay, McNair and Jones, that there is at the very least a vocal contingent of owners who would prefer it if the protests simply went away.