If a Facebook "like" is currency, many NFL teams saw their stock drop over the past several days.
Of the NFL's 32 teams, 28 saw a marked decrease in fan following on their team Facebook pages. The drop came after increased, leaguewide demonstrations during the national anthem in Week 3 prompted by several rebukes from President Donald Trump.
Many teams had players lock arms or raise their fists while the anthem was performed. One or more players on 18 different teams took a knee; players on five teams sat on the bench; three entire teams remained in the locker room.
In all, the audience among team Facebook pages decreased by 88,610, according to data compiled by Crowdtangle, a tool that tracks social media trends and analytics. All data is representative of figures accurate as of Sept. 26.
The three teams that did not take the field — the Pittsburgh Steelers (other than former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva), Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans — saw some of the most precipitous drops.
In the two days following the protests (Sept. 25 and 26), the Steelers lost a total of 17,400 followers, the most of any team, and the Seahawks' total fell by 10,200. The Titans lost 4,100 followers, which represented the second highest percentage of their relative total of any team.
The New Orleans Saints saw the second-highest drop of 13,300 over the two-day span (5,100 on Sept. 25 and 8,200 the next day). The totals for most of the 28 teams dwarfed the attrition totals for recent months. For the Saints, their next highest total of followers lost in a single day was on Sept. 16 with 384.
Saints players Cameron Jordan and Drew Brees have said they've been working on a symbol of unity ahead of their Week 4 game against the Dolphins in London.
SUNBURY-ON-THAMES, England — While Cameron Jordan sat during the national anthem of Sunday's…
"We want to find something that we can do together, that shows unity and does not show division," Brees said. "I think we all are very much are on the same page as far as the cause is justified. But it’s just the means by which the, whatever you want to call it, the protest, the awareness is raised. How can we do that in a respectful manner?"
Any drop in followers, however, has little impact on the mammoth fanbases most teams possess. The aggregate total of the followings for all 32 teams easily clears 100 million, and none of the decreased totals equated to even a half a percentage point of a team's followers.
The Saints' drop of 13,300 only accounts for 0.33 percent of their total following — roughly 4,030,000.
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Four teams in the league, none of which had a single player kneel during the anthem, saw their followings increase. The largest increase was that of the Dallas Cowboys, which had its total climb by 6,200. The Cowboys' demonstration had the team lock arms and kneel before the anthem, then rising for it. The Cowboys have the league's largest following with 8,760,000.
Any continued decrease in fan following also has a long way to go before making a dent, if Facebook gives any indication. Twenty-four of the 32 teams have seen their followings increase from this time last season, with an aggregate increase of 1,939,800.
The Saints, however, have seen their following fall by roughly 32,000 since this time last year.
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The team, which had several players sit during the national anthem before their Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers, also faces some outcry from businesses and legislators.
Several bars and restaurants have said they will not show Saints games due to the protests, and a Lafayette beer distributor has opted to pull all NFL and Saints branded point-of-sale items.
The Krewe of Poseidon in Slidell has disinvited Saints players Alex Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro — both of whom participated in the protest — from being grand marshals in their January parade.
"The Krewe is not interested in having any controversial figures representing us as Grand Marshals," read a statement from the Mardi Gras troupe earlier this week.
Another Louisiana company has said it will no longer promote the NFL or New Orleans Saints b…
Slidell's Krewe of Poseidon is putting their feet down.
Furthermore, multiple legislators have proposed cutting state funding from the Saints, and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has said he will boycott watching the team.
Trump declared Tuesday that ratings were "way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected," although the ratings bear out a bit of a different story. Following Monday Night Football, the TV ratings for Week 3 across all games was up 3 percent from a year ago, according to a report from Business Insider.
Week 3's MNF audience easily outpaced that of last year, which featured a Saints-Falcons matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that was pitted against a Trump-Hillary Clinton presidential debate.
The major networks, including ESPN, also chose to air the anthem before games this week. NFL ratings had followed a falling trend in the first two weeks of the season, which has been attributed — at least in part — to cord-cutters and streaming services.