Study Shows Which Football Fans Most Likely to Participate in Boycott NFL Movement


Controversy has plagued the NFL for several years now, following former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem in 2016 in protest of police brutality and racial injustice throughout the country. Kaepernick became a free agent after that season and was not re-signed, which many took as a reaction to his political protest. The kneeling incident sparked a lasting controversy that resulted in boycotts of the NFL on both sides of the issue. recently conducted a study to examine some of the continuing impacts of the #BoycottNFL movement, and to see which team’s fans were more likely to boycott the league as a result of the protests. 

colin kaepernick

Notably, the study showed that the most searches for the hashtag “BoycottNFL” came from Texas (12.86k) and California (11.98k), while Vermont (160) and Alaska (260) had the lowest search volume for the hashtag. also analyzed two particularly prominent NFL-related hashtags between September and October of 2020 to get a sense of the sentiment behind each tag.

Sentiment analysis found that 40.54% of the 8,010 “#boycottNFL” tweets collected for the study had a negative sentiment, while 30.32% of the tweets were positive and 29.14% were neutral. 


Another popular NFL-related hashtag, #takeaknee, showed an overwhelmingly opposite sentiment overall. Of the 739 tweets analyzed with this hashtag, 44.79% had a positive connotation, while 38.84% were negative and 16.37% were neutral.

When it came to NFL fans, the study surveyed 976 supporters of the boycott to get an understanding of which team they support and why they’re in favor of boycotting the league. Interestingly, 18.5% of respondents who supported a boycott were Arizona Cardinals fans, while 18.3% were Buffalo Bills fans and 17.4% were New York Giants fans.

Kneeling during the National Anthem was by far the biggest reason that respondents backed a boycott, with 46.5% citing that issue. 26.8% said the Black Lives Matter movement prompted their support for a boycott, and 23% cited national pride as their reason. 

colin kaepernick

What do these NFL fans think should happen in order for a boycott to end? The survey showed overwhelming support for players being fined if they kneel during the National Anthem (58.1%), and slightly less support (53.3%) for players being suspended if they kneel. 25.9% of respondents said that the NFL should out and out ban players who kneel during the anthem. 

Though many seem passionate about a boycott for one reason or another, whether or not they actually followed through on boycotting for a long period of time appears to be a different thing entirely. 88.5% of #boycottNFL supporters admitted to watching at least one game in 2020, and just 11.5% said they didn’t watch a single one in 2020. In a 17-week season, 5.9 weeks was the average amount of time that boycotters watched NFL football throughout 2020. Interestingly enough, 83.5% of boycott supporters said they still planned to watch the SuperBowl despite their feelings on the league. 

american-flag-star spangled banner

Whether boycotts will continue to gain traction is still somewhat in question but seems rather unlikely. However, one thing is certain, the NFL has become a divisive enterprise in recent years and many devoted fans have strong feelings in two very different directions about the positions the league should be taking on political and social issues. The NFL itself has come out in support of free speech and peaceful protest, which may have cooled things down slightly. At the end of the day, a percentage of the NFL audience boycotting won’t destroy the league or the sport overall, meaning that this serious and heated conversation will almost certainly continue for years to come. 


  1. Edward L Smith says

    I am boycotting the NFL due to playing a black national anthem. We are not a black and white country we are all Americans.

  2. Yes, I have been woke. One more move to split Americans apart, and it’s working. Any friend or relative that walks in my house and turns on a NFL game will be asked, no, told to leave. You want a country divided, keep going. Will it come to a Black Anthem, White Anthem, Hispanic Anthem, Muslim Anthem or National Anthem. If we keep going like this you will have to make a choice. Nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage but if you are an American, America should come first regardless or race or religion. NFL can kiss my American support good bye.

  3. Chuck ‘O’ says

    Every player in the NFL should be thankful they live in a free country that pays them millions of dollars to play ball, any kinda ball. But of course the blacks always use race to tarnish everything. I am for boycotting all pro sports until they are free from political, and race BS.

  4. I am a United States Marine Corps veteran and I agree 100% with Chuck.

  5. I have watched Pro football my entire life and always considered it an escape from politics.
    This is no longer the case.
    Kneeling, end racism messages on helmets and the, so -called, “black national anthem” have made this sport
    totally political for everyone who watches.
    My grandfather, my farther and I were all COMBAT veterans.
    Start hitting the NFL in the wallet and things will quickly change.
    BOYCOTT THE NFI!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Changing the anthem is as”black anthem” is a spit to us Americans.COUNT ON A LOSS OF REVENUE..AND FANS.LETS GO REDS.

  7. Who are you to change ANYTHING.PAID MILLION DOLLAR DEALS ISNT ENOUGH.BUNCH OF CRY BABY’S!. BRINGING BLM in the NFL is a joke.All lives matter you your real playbook.the! I’d rather play golf

  8. NFL football is anti American can’t watch anymore

  9. Ed C
    Maybe we can play anthem for the different players in the stupid NFL. Boycott!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Really, the nfl, the blm, the Marxist’s football league, take a knee you traitors! You are a joke! So many countries have real problems with slavery, sex trafficking, murder, where is the nfl, the blm, the marxists? When are you going to step up and do something for them? Ha, you are nothing but whining, rich, black, athlete showboats! Fakes!

  11. When a person’s 1st Amendment rights compromise and destroy other people? They cease to be rights! Megan Rapinoe, Colin Kappernick, the nfl, inflame and insight the blm to aggression, property damage, rioting against America and Americans. Rapinoe, Kappernick, the nfl don’t give a damn about their team mates, who have had to face backlash because of the childish attitudes portrayed by taking a knee and disrespecting America! Stand up Americans! This is BS! Fight for America by boycotting BLM, NFL, Colin Kappernick, Megan Rapinoe, Subway, And all the sponsors of these Marxists!

  12. NFL – “Not For Long”. I am and will continue to boycott!

  13. I agree with Chuck O 100% I haven’t watched a game since 2019 and I doubt I ever will. Airforce Vietnam combat veteran. It’s funny when I am asked why I don’t follow the NFL, my reply is that the NFL disrespects the flag and the million plus men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedom. They typically nod their head in agreement and the discussion ends . They don’t know what to say.

  14. Roger Goodell MUST GO! Playing an “alternative: national anthem is incredibly STUPID and after 60+ years I WILL NEVER WATCH AGAIN. Where is the WHITE national ANTHEM? Or the hispanic anthem, or the Asian anthem? How about playing a personal anthem for Colin Kappernick who used race to try to rescue his failed career?

  15. The NFL is a disgrace. Supporting defunding the police, a black national anthem, and supporting disrespecting the flag. I hope people stop listening to their nonsense & boycott all games that support anything against this country.

  16. I think that when they take the knee start playing the TAPS will never watch sports ever again NFL,NBA, AND BASEBALL THEY ALL DO IT

  17. Haven’t watched since my old team the squealers stayed in the locker room while one man stood for the flag. A veteran army ranger. They couldn’t even video each player in the nfl saying they are sorry enough to make me watch ever again.

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