NFL has image problem on hand after national anthem protests, brand consultant says
WASHINGTON - "It's a problem."
That's how Eric Schiffer, a brand reputation consultant, sums up the road ahead for the NFL after this weekend's national anthem protests.
Schiffer, who joined FOX 5's Jim Lokay on "The Final 5," described team owners as the source of the problem, suggesting they may have been better served to remain neutral.
"They've likely joined in support of the players," Schiffer said, but believes the long-term effect may be an alienation of NFL fans who describe themselves as conservatives. With owners, like the Washington Redskins' Dan Snyder, joining in pre-game protests, those fans may see those owners as complicit in what they perceive as disrespect for the flag.
"Many conservatives view them taking this position in support of players who are against them standing during the national anthem as being lacking in respect for the flag, lacking in respect for being American," Schiffer said.
On the other hand, mirroring a divided country, he sees a large contingent of fans who continue to support their teams and their respective owners.
"You have people who are supportive of the players being able to exercise their 1st amendment rights, and standing up for what many on the left view as injustice," Schiffer explained.
In the end, he believes the level of success will be directly tied to the fallout from the weekend of protests.
"These are private enterprises," Schiffer told Lokay. "If the earnings from ticket sales take a big hit…I wouldn't be surprised to see them curtail this a bit because it's a private enterprise."