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NFL Ratings Slip Amid National Anthem Protest

TV ratings are down for the NFL as debate over Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the national anthem rages on.

So far this season, NBC's three primetime games have an average of 23.7 million viewers, according to Forbes. This is down 12 percent from last year -- an unprecedented drop.

ESPN has seen the same decrease -- 12 percent -- in viewership for its Monday Night Football games, while ratings for CBS's Thursday Night Football are down a whopping 27 percent.

While the poor ratings could be a coincidence, a recent Yahoo! Sports poll found that 44 percent of NFL fans say they will stop watching the games if protests against the national anthem continue. Another poll conducted by E-Poll Marketing Research concluded that Kaepernick is the most disliked player in the NFL, according to ESPN.

According to Kaepernick, who has reportedly received death threats in response to his protest, those who criticize him are part of the problem.

"There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country, and people don’t like to address that and they don’t like to address what the root of this protest is -- and the root of players across the country, not only in the NFL, but you have soccer, you have NBA players talking about it, high school players talking about it, college players," he said, according to ESPN.

"They don’t like to address the issue that is people of color being oppressed and treated unjustly," he continued. "I don’t know why that is and what they’re scared of, but it’s something that needs to be addressed."

Kaepernick is set to appear on the cover of the upcoming issue of Time.

Sources: Forbes, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN (2) / Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

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