In the era of social justice in sports, it stands to reason that we would hear from the commentators and sideline reporters about every symbolic gesture that takes place in a game.
Fortunately, some of that coverage hasn’t included virtue signaling or opinions from either side of the issue. CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told his broadcasters to report on what’s going on without injecting opinions into their coverage.
“They’re certainly allowed to talk about what is happening on the field, whether it’s the National Anthem or something else with a name or a phrase on a player’s jersey or on his shoes,” McManus said. “They’re free to talk about that, but we’re gonna do so objectively. They’re not going to interject their opinion or their philosophy. They’re there to cover the game. But if something else happens to be part of the story, they’re going to tell that story.”
The pregame programming included interviews with players who are on the frontlines of protests and social justice movements, but McManus told the media that their on-air talent will “thread the needle” between reporting and editorializing on the movement.
CBS also showed the National Anthem during its first week games but would look at whether to cover the anthem in future weeks.
On the same media call, CBS announcer Tony Romo reiterated that they wouldn’t be giving their opinions.
“Our announcers on site at the games are not gonna condone, they’re not gonna condemn what’s going on. They’re going to report it and they’re going to move on.”
This attitude from CBS is a refreshing change from some of the sports coverage we’ve seen in the past, from Bob Costas’ lectures on NBC to Jemele Hill nearly singlehandedly turning ESPN into MSNBC.
Is the NFL’s gamble in walking the social justice line paying off? If the ratings for Thursday night’s season opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans on NBC is any indication, it’s not looking good.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans to open the season. They NFL lost in a big way in the ratings.
The game scored a 5.2 rating among adults 18-49 with 16.4 million viewers between 8-11 p.m. ET. While the number will adjust some upward later to 11:30 p.m., it represented a 16.1% drop.
It was the lowest opening night in 10 years.
The ‘Get Woke, Go Broke’ mantra continues to be proven true and it is something, at least partially, being noticed by CBS.
I believe that as sports continues to get political, we’ll keep seeing a decline in viewership. Even though CBS is taking a refreshing approach by not allowing editorializing, it may not be enough to bring back the fans who turned away because of the woke turn.
If Week One is any indication, the NFL has a long road to travel.