The NFL was back on television sets Thursday night but not as many of the fans were watching.
According to Nielsen, the season kickoff game on NBC between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs drew 13 percent fewer viewers than the 2019 opener between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
An estimated 19.3 million fans tuned in to see the Texans-Chiefs broadcast, while the Packers-Bears contest attracted 22.2 million viewers last season.
Players from the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans unite in a moment of silence before the start of Thursday’s opener
The season kickoff game on NBC between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs drew 13 percent fewer viewers than the 2019 opener
An estimated 19.3 million fans tuned in to see the Texans-Chiefs broadcast
Many sports fans have been waiting for the football season to arrive after other leagues had seasons interrupted by the coronavirus.
NBC said live streaming boosted the total number of viewers to 20.3 million.
Other sports in action on Thursday night included the NBA and NHL playoffs as well as a slate of Major League Baseball games. Also, Victoria Azarenka posted an upset of Serena Williams in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
NBC said live streaming boosted the total number of viewers to 20.3 million
The NFL’s new stance encouraging players to take a stand against racial injustice got its first test as some fans of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs booed during a moment of silence to promote the cause, touching off a fresh debate on how players should use their voice.
The controversy erupted Thursday night just moments before the league’s 101st season kicked off in front of a live crowd of 17,000 socially-distanced fans.
After the Houston Texans remained in the locker room during the national anthem, fans booed them when they emerged from the tunnel at its conclusion.
The booing continued as the two teams walked to midfield and shook hands, their interlocked arms stretched from one end zone to the other during what was supposed to be a moment of silence.
Fans, politicians and players all weighed in on social media and in interviews. Kansas City Councilman Eric Bunch described what happened in a tweet as ’embarrassing.’
Fans booed Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs during a moment of silence they held during the game
‘Some NFL fans booing the players for standing and locking arms in a moment of silent unity proves that for them `standing for the flag’ was always about perpetuating white supremacy,’ said Bunch, who is white.
New York Jets offensive tackle George Fant, who is Black, praised the Chiefs and Texans for taking a stance during a Zoom call with reporters in which he only took questions about social justice.
‘We just want to be treated equally,’ he said. ‘Everyone needs to be treated the same. Everyone needs to be held accountable. And for people to boo? It´s unbelievable.’