(USA Features) NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre said Thursday he thinks there should be greater separation between politics and sports, adding that combining the two is ruining events for the “general fan.”
“I know when I turn on a game, I want to watch a game. I want to watch players play and teams win, lose, come from behind,” Favre told “The Andrew Klavan Show” on the Daily Wire.
“I want to watch all the important parts of the game, not what’s going on outside of the game, and I think the general fan feels the same way,” he continued.
“I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, ‘I don’t watch anymore; it’s not about the game anymore.’ And I tend to agree.”
In recent years, political themes have increasingly crept into sports but they really exploded last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ensuing unrest around the country.
The NBA adopted heavy Black Lives Matter messaging as did the NFL and, to a lesser degree, Major League Baseball and the NHL.
All sports leagues have had a decline in viewership, though the NFL, the clear professional sports king in the U.S., did not suffer great losses in viewership while other leagues tended to lose more viewers.
It’s not clear that the decline was tied to the adoption of political messaging, however.
“According to a YouGov/Yahoo News poll released in March, about 56% of people say they watch the same amount of sports regardless of political or social messaging. But about 11% of people say they watch more sports now as a result of political and social messaging, while another 34.5% of respondents say they are now watching less sports,” the Washington Times reported.
More recently, the MLB decided to pull its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta after the GOP-led legislature passed a voting reform measure that strengthened voter ID requirements.
Unsurprisingly, there is a political element to the survey, with 53 percent of Republicans saying they watched less sports after social justice messaging increased, as opposed to 19 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents.
Favre was a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump during the 2020 elections. He was asked what was more controversial, his support for Trump or players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. He said he thought kneeling has “created more turmoil than good.”
“It’s really a shame that we’ve come to this,” Favre said. “Something has to unify us, and I felt like the flag, standing patriotically — because blacks and whites and Hispanics have fought for this country and died for this country. It’s too bad.”