It’s been a trying season for the NFL this year.
Viewership continues to drop, some teams have been plagued by clashes between ownership and players over on-field protests of the national anthem, and links between the game and head injuries continue to surface, most recently with the news that an autopsy of former NFL player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez had abnormally severe brain damage for someone his age.
There’s also discord brewing between commissioner Roger Goodell and one of the league’s most influential and outspoken team owners, the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones. The league has accused Jones of trying to sabotage contract negotiations between it and Commissioner Goodell. Jones has been critical of Goodell’s handling of the situation involving his team’s star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, who is currently serving a six game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy because of allegations of domestic violence.
With all of the bumps along the road, how is the future of the NFL shaping up for current and to-be players? What can the NFL do to try and combat the change? What about viewers? If you were an NFL fan before, has your viewership changed? Why or why not?
Patrick Hruby, Washington D.C.-based journalist writing about the intersection of sports and society; he is a fellow at the University of Texas Program in Sports and Media, a former editor at VICE Sports, and a former writer for ESPN; he tweets @patrick_hruby