Brands Issue No-Holds-Barred Warning to NBC Regarding NFL Protests

Brands advertising at NBCUniversal have — much like the viewers who are turning their TVs off during NFL games — issued an ultimatum: Quit covering players’ protests or we’ll yank our ads.

Linda Yaccarino, chairwoman of advertising sales at NBCUniversal, shared the no-holds-barred message during an interview Friday at a New York event hosted by ad agency R/GA, Business Insider reported.

“Marketers have said, ‘We will not be part of the NFL if you continue covering it,’” Yaccarino said, noting no advertisers have pulled their ads yet, though brands have suggested that could change.

“The story has morphed dramatically,” she added.

The NBCUniversal executive’s revelation comes as NFL ratings have continued to plummet ever since President Donald Trump criticized players who are taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Polls, for what they’re worth, have consistently shown a majority of Americans side with the president on the issue. In September, nearly two-thirds of Americans — 64 percent — believe athletes should stand during the national anthem.

And Papa John’s recently said it is “disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve” the controversy over players’ protest during the patriotic ceremony. Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter said the protest has hurt the restaurant chain’s sales.

Moving forward, Yaccarino said, marketers — again, much like the viewers — want more focus on the games and less attention given to the protests.



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