NFL: Last sports bastion of white, male conservatives

By Neal Gabler
May 30, 2014

New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes kicks the opening kick-off to start the first regular season game in the Giants new stadium against the Carolina Panthers in their NFL football game in East RutherfordBy almost any measure — TV ratings, the value of franchises, overall revenue, polls — the National Football League is by far both the most popular and successful professional sports league in America. A veritable juggernaut. Nothing seems to damage that popularity — not widely reported homophobia or the growing awareness of the dangers of head injuries or the accusations leveled in a lawsuit filed last week by 500 former players that they were pumped up with painkillers and sent back onto the field after being injured.

Why does the NFL have such a tenacious hold on the national consciousness — particularly that of white males, the primary fans of professional sports? It might be that the NFL, in both its high points and its low ones, encapsulates the prevailing white male conservative ethos of modern America better than any other league. The triumph of the NFL is a tribute to the triumph of American conservatism.

The Baltimore Ravens Chris Carr (25) fumbles the opening kickoff as he is hit by the New England Patriots Matt Slater (bottom) in the first quarter of their NFL football game in FoxboroughThe popularity of a sport is, to a large extent, a function of how well it expresses the zeitgeist — at least the male zeitgeist. For more than a century, baseball was America’s national pastime. It was pastoral — born in the 19th century, played on expansive greenswards, with  a leisurely pace and a deliberate strategy. All of which was a large part of its appeal in a rapidly modernizing society that surrendered those rural values grudgingly.

Basketball was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 but the professional National Basketball Association arose in the postwar era as an urban game — fluid, loose and improvisational like jazz, not to mention now predominantly black.

Both baseball and basketball centralize the individual: baseball with the pitcher and batter squaring off mano-a-mano; basketball with the soloist departing from the ensemble to shoot or dunk. As a result, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association are both star leagues in which the players sometimes are as big as the game itself.

Football is another thing entirely. It is America’s corporate sport, rising in our industrial heartland. The basis of football is its machinery — 11 individuals subjugating themselves to the greater good of the team. They are effectively cogs, and with their heads encased in helmets, they are faceless in a way that baseball players and basketball players are not. In the case of the  linemen, they are not only faceless; they are pretty much nameless as well.

There is a reason that the NFL began taking hold in the 1950s — a period of conformity embodied by the term “organization man.” Football players are the ultimate organization men, and their sport is the sport of the corporate age.

Still, in a nation as mythically individualistic as ours likes to think it is, it took a while for football to wrest the “national pastime” mantle from baseball. That it finally succeeded is a testament to how much the United States changed in the last half of the 20th century — and how much the NFL played into those changes.

Seattle Seahawks Jordan Babineaux recovers a Green Bay Packers fumbleIt isn’t a coincidence that the rise of the National Football League mirrored the rise of American conservatism. In almost every way, the NFL was the league of the well-off, conservative white male.

A recent Experian Simmons study shows that this is true demographically. Of people who identified themselves as part of the NFL fan base 83 percent were white, 64 percent  were male, 51 percent were 45 years or older, only 32 percent made less than $60,000 a year, and, to finish the point, registered Republicans were 21 percent more likely to be NFL fans than registered Democrats. Another factoid: NFL fans were 59 percent more likely than the average American to have played golf in the last year. You think the NFL is a lunch-bucket league? Not unless the lunch bucket is from Hermes.

But football’s appeal is more than demographics. The numbers reflect the values of white conservative males. No professional sport looks more overtly macho than the NFL, and none appears to take greater delight in violence — not even the National Hockey League, which has gone to great lengths to curb fisticuffs.  The Michael Sam draft story revealed that none may be more homophobic. Where the National Basketball Association enthusiastically embraced Jason Collins when he announced he was gay, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has claimed that that he was released for advocating gay marriage and that his position coach made homophobic slurs.  Then are the numerous player tweets against gays, as well as Miami Dolphin lineman and team captain Richie Incognito’s gay taunts against former teammate Jonathan Martin.

But the league’s appeal to entrenched conservative values goes deeper still — to the heart of the relationship between labor and capital. No other professional league seems to exhibit the indifference, even contempt, to its own players that the NFL does to its athletes — which is why the former players have filed their suit. The record of concussions and the use of painkillers demonstrate that to the NFL — and many of its fans — players are essentially expendable, interchangeable, to be used up and then discarded. The fact that football players have never established a powerful union, as baseball and basketball players have, only shows how much those players have drunk the league’s Kool Aid. The career of the average NFL player lasts scarcely three years, yet it is the only professional league that doesn’t have guaranteed contracts.

Still, the game’s soaring popularity may actually signal the potential waning of those values rather than their power. Just as baseball embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured a sense of the country and then hung on because it represented a pastoral oasis in a frightening new industrializing world, football embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured Ronald Reagan’s America, and it may be thriving among its core fans because it is a last redoubt of white male values now being threatened by changing national demographics and a more tolerant mindset.

It is hard to call a league as popular as the NFL an anachronism. But it just may be a place where rich old angry white men can enjoy their world on Sunday — even if that world may be crumbling around them.

 

PHOTO (TOP): New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes (C) kicks the opening kick-off to start the first regular season game in the Giants new stadium against the Carolina Panthers in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

PHOTO (INSERT 1): The Baltimore Ravens Chris Carr (25) fumbles the opening kickoff as he is hit by the New England Patriots Matt Slater (bottom) in the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, October 4, 2009. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

PHOTO (INSERT): Seattle Seahawks Jordan Babineaux (27) recovers a Green Bay Packers fumble on the opening kickoff in the first quarter of their NFC Divisional NFL playoff football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin, January 12, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress

61 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The NFL….the finest marketing tool ever contrived…and you get a little football too…!

Posted by rikfre | Report as abusive

Hogwash

Posted by ArribaJuarez | Report as abusive

Sports are an irrelevant distraction from reality. Don’t get so worked up about fakery.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive

Thanks for this brilliant article…!!!

Posted by everyonecounts | Report as abusive

“…it is a last redoubt of white male values…”. This writer no doubt regards himself as an advanced thinker, morally superior to those who don’t support his “tolerant” beliefs. But he feels free to stereotype and caricature an entire demographic in order to shoehorn his left-wing views into this discussion. The NFL is widely popular among men of all racial groups, and plenty of women, including my wife, are big fans of pro football. NFL games are watched by people across the political spectrum, including such right-wingers as President Obama. Good grief – does EVERYTHING in life have to be partisan politics?

Posted by Rodgers12 | Report as abusive

I doubt the writer grasps the irony of a rich old angry white man making silly generalizations about who he sees as the enemy… “rich old angry white men.” Give it a rest.

Posted by chris_zzz | Report as abusive

Forget the war on women and minorities, the war on middle aged white guys in encompassing stereotypical manner, is the fodder of a weak and/or lazy columnists mind. The racism resurrection and the like, demonization of evil wealthy and corporations that pay the lions share of taxes both fuel unnecessary anxiety.

Posted by jimipage160 | Report as abusive

So African-american men don’t care about football, or is it acceptable to attack white men? This is how bigotry works.

Posted by LIB19 | Report as abusive

Bread and circuses.

Posted by Lzy | Report as abusive

I’m a white male conservative and I don’t like football all that much. Neal, this is pretty much the most ridiculous article I have ever read. I realize demonizing conservatives is what a liberal press has to do to sell ad space but I think you must have played football yourself, for too long, without a helmet. My sport was baseball, simply because I found it fun, not because I was trying to get back to some long lost age

Posted by FISHNFRANK | Report as abusive

What a silly article. First, approx. 73% of America is Euro-American and another large chunk (I don’t exactly), Hispanic from countries where baseball and baskeball are popular but not American Football. So, the race number is hardly surprising. Nor that it is more male than female – how many female football teams are there? In fact, given that fact, the number of women fans is wonderfully high. Also, he uses an article referring to ONE gay slur by a football player who immediately apologized as his example – and said it wasn’t meant to be homophobic. Oh, and Richie Incognito? That’s his proof. Does he know Kobe was castigated for using a gay slur? Or Roy Hibbert? Well, there’s two NBAers. What does it prove? Not that any of them are homophobic (many people, including gays, grow up using the word “f*ggot* to mean many things and it isn’t always consciously homophobic). There is a greater percentage of Republican football fans? Well, since football fans are also more likely to be men, and men are more likely to be Republican. . . I could go on. I probably agree that there are more conservative white males interested in football than in some other sports, but it is a function of a number of things and “last bastion” is a silly notion.

Posted by amadis80 | Report as abusive

But it just may be a place where rich old angry white men can enjoy their world on Sunday — even if that world may be crumbling around them.

NEIL BABBLER! Any FACTS to go with your B.S.?

Posted by ColeBach | Report as abusive

“NFL: Last sports bastion of white, male conservatives”

Apparently, the author of this editorial has not watched an NFL football game in the last 40 years. NFL teams are predominantly African-American, and a disproportionate share of the NFL fanbase is also African-Americans — who are only 12% of the American population.

Suggesting that the NFL is some sort of bastion of white, male Republicans is more than a little foolish. The NFL is, if anything, apolitical.

Posted by SPQR2010 | Report as abusive

A solution to concussions in football? I’ve got a thought–go back to leather helmets. Sound radical?, check it out http://unrepentantcapitalist.blogspot.co m/2010/09/chapter-2.html

Posted by jambrytay | Report as abusive

How can somebody write an article based on this premise, and not bring the NHL into the debate, if only to dismiss it somehow? He mentions the NHL one time..so we know he is aware of its existence.

This is like writing an article about race relations in America, and mention whites, Hispanics and Asians as the main demographics. Stupid article.

Posted by algonquinmatt | Report as abusive

I see that the writer of this piece is working on a biography of the late Ted Kennedy. If there is any mention of Chappaquiddick, it will only be in regards to Teddy’s love for cars.

Posted by algonquinmatt | Report as abusive

White men owning black players. Modern day slavery. Too similar to the Roman christian/lions games for me.

Posted by njglea | Report as abusive

“White old men”

This is racist. This is ageist.

Whoever wrote this piece of garbage should be ashamed… and perhaps banned from writing.

Posted by Bill_Sanford | Report as abusive

It’s not just middle aged white males that love football these days. As a woman, my friends and I watch football with our boyfriends and husbands; but we only sit and watch depending on who the quarterback is. Lol. For example, we only sit and watch if one of the Manning boys are playing. Peyton or Eli.

Posted by AHK_Wy | Report as abusive

This piece is junk psycho-babble. It’s another weirdly cannibalistic screed against the bogeyman — rich old angry (racist) white men — by a rich old angry (race-baiting) white man who desperately wants people to think that he’s better than his cohorts. Give it a rest.

Posted by chris_zzz | Report as abusive

Yeah, a sport run by white racists that’s seen fit to push whites out of as many positions as possible.

As for the modern-day “slavery” claptrap — millions of bucks’ll go a long way toward easing those yearnings for freedom.

And please note that Gabler is a Jew. Semitic affiliation is certainly an issue when an ostensibly “white” commentator gloats about “angry white men” getting their comeuppance.

Posted by f00 | Report as abusive

Slavery at those salaries? Yeah, I’ll do it…count me in.

Posted by jambrytay | Report as abusive

The article makes no sense to me. A vast number of NFL fans are non-white and not rich. “Rich old angry white” people are not ANGRY in the first place – they are rich and white (what is there to be angry about) and they watch golf. Football is the poor and middle-class angry man’s game and it has nothing to do with skin color.

Posted by RouterX | Report as abusive

“White men OWNING black players”? Is there a single person, black or white, who is FORCING any one of these men to play basketball or football? Gee, could it be the millions of dollars, publicity, marketing deals, etc. that JUST may be one reason they stay “enslaved”? Any one of them could walk out tomorrow, and go get a job on Wall Street. Or, maybe not.

Posted by danbfas | Report as abusive

Neal should stick to movie reviews. His understanding of both politics and football is rather pathetic.

Posted by Dave315 | Report as abusive

SPQR2010 calls attention to a few facts that are inconsistent with Gabler’s analysis. This is the second or third article by Gabler that suffers the same weakness. He’s a skin-deep writer, who can’t distinguish cause and effect, and doesn’t look carefully at supporting or non-supporting facts. He is the last person to understand the underlying dynamics of anything.

For aspiring professional writers, the fact that Gabler is paid to write for Reuters should give you confidence. For Reuters editors, why don’t you read this rubbish and find someone better?

Posted by benfct | Report as abusive

Football, in the form of the NFL, college, high school, and Pop Warner is enjoyed by people of all races and racial mixtures fairly equally. Moreover, it is a point of commonality between people from different racial/ethnic/socioeconomic backgrounds, and as such, fosters interaction between people rather then being a “bastion” of the white.

A good writer would have provided a decent statistical representation of the black, Hispanic, Asian, and white demographics of the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS and NHL. My guess is that the NHL would have a much, much higher white percentage than the general population, and the NFL and NBA would have a little higher black percentage than the populace. MLS would probably trend significantly Hispanic. But Gabler spares us from any significant facts here, so of course I’m only guessing.

Reuters can do better than this kind of non-informative, or rather mis-informative, slipshod journalism.

Posted by oldcabman | Report as abusive

Maybe not having a team in the number two media market, which is predominantly liberal, has an affect on the sports fan preference.

Posted by anon123123 | Report as abusive

Wait. Football is white and conservative because it rose to prominence in the 50s? Wouldn’t have anything to do with the advent of TV would it? No sport has worked harder to improve the TV experience of their sport than football.
Also next time, you might want to lay some factual basis for your theory that violence is somehow innately white, male, and/or conservative. Don’t assume every reader shares your obvious bias.

Posted by DH1 | Report as abusive

Have to agree wholeheartedly with a few posters here. Gabler is a liberal halfbake and while he’s not a complete hack like Salam – who’s detestable – he’s seriously warped if he thinks one survey is going to convince us of any of the points he tries to press.

Agreed: this is bullfeathers. Hey everybody has to eat. I don’t have the time nor the interest to research how Experian Simmons crunched their numbers but I can tell you the NFL fanbase is not overwhelmingly $60k+. Sorry Charlie, take out that one claim and your whole premise falls to pieces.

Some of your tidbits about the players’ union are interesting but “football embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured Ronald Reagan’s America”? Really? Have to say SPQR and others are right: this writer starts from his premise, or worldview, and makes the pieces fit HIS puzzle.

BTW I have nothing against what used to be called liberal or conservative, if you go back 20 years.

Posted by Mac20nine | Report as abusive

thank god for us white, male conservatives.

Posted by grucson | Report as abusive

Nonsense. International soccer dwarfs American football.

Posted by Redford | Report as abusive

I am a big fan of your site but this is the most contrived and uninspired opinion you have had in a while. Football’s popularity is soaring because it is becoming more accessible beyond its “good old boy roots”. Do you think the the white establishment wants the first openly gay player on a team? Do you think the want Richie Incognito out of the league? Do we really believe that American Conservatives want games in London and Mexico City, with “euros” and “immigrants”. This is poor content and worst its bad journalism.

Posted by AlexFountain | Report as abusive

Another liberal white male flagellates himself to appease the “diversity” police

Actually this tendentious, sneering writer has it completely backwards.

Sports fans of all stripes are probably more conservative than most.

Baseball is the domain of Republicans while football has long been the sport of Democrats. Note the caterwauling when Rush Limbaugh entered the booth on Monday Night Football.

Moreover it’s the legacy sports media that covers the NFL and tends to be cloistered in New York that has been uniformly liberal and hostile to conservatives.

Posted by RaiderDan | Report as abusive

You are a idiot Neal , just a article by someone who never got picked for the team and has to put some giant meaning to why he doesn’t understand why sport make people happy, it a escape just like any other television show. You should probably stick to writing something worth reading, like facts instead of a bad opinion

Posted by martalej | Report as abusive

Hey Gabler, Your numbers are off: 45% of NFL fans have an income of $60k or Less, not 32%:

http://www.marketresearchworld.net/index 2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11 13&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=48

Less than $25,000 13%

$50,000-$59,999 9%

$30,000-$34,999 5%

$45,000-$49,999 5%

$25,000-29,000 5%

$35,000-$39,999 4%

$40,000-$44,999 4%

did you forget to count incomes under 25%? Because that’s the 3rd biggest base by income.

Only $75,000-$99,999 16% & $100,000-$149,999 15% is higher.

Conveniently, if you leave out the poorest income bracket, it would add up to 32%. So did you just make a mistake, or did you leave it out because it contradicted your claim that NFL fans have “Hermes” for lunch buckets?

Posted by BarneyFranken | Report as abusive

Let me guess, Neal is a homosexual football wife. Jeez, at least try to write something half way believable; absurd.

Posted by rhspeer | Report as abusive

Article is laden with erroneous extrapolations. The players enter into the league under a voluntary contract. Players are free to pursue other career tracks and should be encouraged to do so should they feel they are not getting a fair shake.

Posted by FTH2 | Report as abusive

Rambling a bit here yet we are talking about the Business of the sport. The sport that has citizens tax dollars building stadiums and remains Tax exempt organization. Does this not bother the citizens and communities where these teams are domiciled?

Posted by mmcg | Report as abusive

So, football is a place where rich angry white men can enjoy their Sundays as their world crumbles around them……..

What is wrong with this guy? Sometimes I think journalists are stuck in their heads a little to much. Sounds like a very unhappy fellow. He should stop writing, come back to the real world and get his hands dirty doing something tangible as opposed to this useless ethereal stuff.

Posted by steve777 | Report as abusive

What Neal really hates about the NFL is that it stands on top in the sports world. Lefties hate winners (see Walmart and McDonald’s).

Posted by charliethompto | Report as abusive

Has anyone noticed Gabler’s math is off?

The study says 45% of NFL fans have an income of 60k or less, NOT 32%.

see for yourself:

http://www.marketresearchworld.net/index 2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11 13&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=48

That kind of changes the whole premise of the story, when you ‘forget’ to count the 13% of NFL fans who are at 25k or less- that the poorest NFL fans constitute the 3rd most common demographic.

Posted by BarneyFranken | Report as abusive

He has it wrong on another basis when he talks about the “organization man”. A key principle in conservatism is the individual and personal responsibility.

Conservatives want to judge people based on their character not on a generalization about them or others with similar characteristics, so the comparison falls flat here.

Posted by MaxxScott | Report as abusive

The obvious message Conservatives = Bad.

Posted by ltcsnick | Report as abusive

Come to Baltimore – not the suburbs, downtown – on any Sunday this fall and you will see clear indications that not everything in life can be summarized by a survey.

Posted by MerMei | Report as abusive

It’s kind of amazing to read an article about how the NFL is the last bastion of White conservaties in which the author demonstrates complete ignorance of both the NFL and conservatism. A system where “11 individuals subjugating themselves to the greater good,” who are “e effectively cogs” is far more symptomatic of left wing ideologies, particularly communism. Conservatism celebrates individual achievement.

It’s also good to know that even though we recognize as a society that grouping all Black people, or all Asians, or all Latinos and treating them like they’re all the same is stereotyping and is wrong, It’s perfectly acceptable to do it to White people. Sometimes when I read left-wing opinion pieces I’m left with the impression that they believe there’s only one White guy in the entire country. I call him Phil.

Side note: Kluwe was released becasue he was a below average punter at the end of his career, and as an 9 year veteran (2013 would have been his 9th in the league) his CBA mandated minimum salary would have been $840,000.00, set to increase to $940,000 in 2014. His replacement makes and average of $586,048 per year over his four year contract. Given that both are lousy punters, who would you pick?

Posted by BillyXX | Report as abusive

NFL: Last sports bastion of white, male conservatives

BullCrap!

The feminists run the board rooms now! Pink uniforms! Tim Tebow blackballed because of abortion!

It’s ridiculous!

Posted by BiggBear | Report as abusive

At the link, the political affiliation breakdown for the fanbase shows Republicans at 41% and Democrats at 38% which is almost certainly within the margin of error for this survey.

Posted by MikeyInHouston | Report as abusive

Funny how this Angry white male, is talking about angry white males and white priveledge. I suggest he give up his cushy position as a communist propaganda artist at reuters to the next available minority regardless of there ability to spin quality red propaganda.

Posted by Derek87654421 | Report as abusive

Warning:
Reading this article could damage your functional reasoning ability.

Posted by DudeAbiding | Report as abusive

Lets see, come up with a trendy ‘hotbutton’ claim then twist the facts to support it. ‘Journalism’ at it’s finest.

Posted by TBlakely | Report as abusive

The race and gender breakdown for the NFL fan base in the linked report doesn’t look much different than breakdowns for other sports. The political breakdown is 41% Republican and 38% Democrat which is certainly within the margin of error. And, again, without comparisons to other sports, the writer’s claim that football’s popularity owes to “Reagan conservatism” is a textbook example of taking statistics out of context to support the point the writer wants to make: “I don’t like conservatism or the NFL.”

Posted by MikeyInHouston | Report as abusive

What a bunch of tendentious crap. This is like something a second year grad student in political science would come up with after a particularly drunken weekend. Is this going to be in your thesis Mr. Gabler?

Posted by Cwell | Report as abusive

Sigh…ten minutes of my life I will never get back.

Posted by Southpaw0609 | Report as abusive

I am not sure if Mr. Gabler has ever watched football, but his left-wing rant shows a clear lack of understanding of why people watch football more than other sports.

1) Football is actually the closest to socialism. Between revenue sharing, a collective television deal, the salary cap, and the NFL Draft, the league obsesses over competitive balance. On “any given Sunday,” any team can win. Teams can go from worst to first and every year new teams make the playoffs. The gap between the haves and have nots is constantly being narrowed.

Baseball is raw capitalism. Teams have their own regional television deals, and it is survival of the fittest. New York has a distinct advantage over Kansas City. A player on the Royals making one million can be paid $20 million by the Yankees. This is why the Yankees can win the World Series every year while small market clubs start the year knowing they have no chance. This causes many fans to tune out as the gap between haves and have nots widens.

2) Football is only 16 games. Basketball and hockey are 82 games, baseball 162 games. To watch every game in the other sports means spending no time with family unless they watch as well. Football was only Sundays and Monday nights, with the addition of Thursday nights a source of controversy. Baseball is always. Many fans of baseball, hockey and basketball ignore the regular season and wait for the playoffs.

3) Baseball is a turnstyle sport. It is meant to be enjoyed at the ballpark. On tv, it is incredibly boring to watch. Football is meant for tv. To stay home and watch tv is cheaper than going to a game, which helps blue collar families who can no longer afford the expensive price of tickets, parking, hot dogs and beverages.

Gabler is as wrong as wrong can be. Since he is a leftist, he will just say his right, declare the matter settled, and move on to discussing the next topic he knows nothing about.

eric @ the Tygrrrr Express

Posted by blacktygrrrr | Report as abusive

Your statement “The career of the average NFL player lasts scarcely three years, yet it is the only professional league that doesn’t have guaranteed contracts” seems out of place. Shouldn’t the point be more like “Because the career of the average NFL player lasts scarcely 3 years, it is the only professional league that doesn’t have guaranteed contracts. Why would NFL teams want to pay players who are no longer able to contribute to active rosters? Of all the leagues, the NFL has by far the greatest motivation to avoid guaranteed contracts.

Posted by HelenaEngineer | Report as abusive

Football actually “rose” in the Ivy League, not the heartland, and certainly not the industrial heartland where no one had the leisure time for football practice.

Until the 1950s, when the Ivy League de-emphasized football by dropping athletic scholarships, there were at least 2, and sometimes 3 or 4 Ivy League schools in the college Top 10 every year.

But don’t let facts get in the way of a good race-gender-class tale!

Posted by jimbob22 | Report as abusive

As a “rich old angry white man”, I don’t know many people who fancy crowding into any building with 100,000 other people, regardless of the sport. Today’s wealthy are increasingly seeking personalized experiences, exotic travel, and convenience; they don’t have time to follow the local sports team every week or fight big crowds. Personally I watch and participate in tennis, golf, skiing, Formula 1 (really only the Monte Carlo Grand Prix) and horses (the lattermost being a diversion for my wife and daughters). These involve luxury travel, have small crowds, allow me to get to know the players personally, and generally are better for conducting business in private. Maybe the author should consult a few “rich old angry white men” before using dubious statistics to assert opinions on our preferences.

Posted by RichAngryMan | Report as abusive

Gabler shows how easy it is to manipulate data to arrive at a preconceived result. He does it in this instance by relying on percentages, ignoring total numbers. He makes it sound like the NFL fan base is almost all white males, while other groups, like blacks, prefer other sports. But let’s look at the total numbers.

The NFC championship game this year was watched by 55.9 million viewers. The survey Gabler uses says that 9.5% of NFL fans are black. If they watched in that proportion, then than 5.3 million blacks watched that game.

The NBA Eastern Conference Finals averaged about 7.2 million total viewers. Unless one assumes that 3/4 of those viewers were black — an absurdity — more blacks watched the NFL than watched the NBA. The NFL’s popularity is not based on white conservatives — it is based on the fact that every group watches it more than any other sport.

Posted by woocane | Report as abusive

Wow. As vapid as it is hostile. Insane.

Posted by dddddddddddddd | Report as abusive

If Mr. Gabler is going to write something like this about the NFL, I wonder what he would have to say about the growing popularity of “soccer” (a.k.a. football) in the United States?

Posted by olihist | Report as abusive

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