Objectives: What distinguishes between National Football League (NFL) players who participated in protests during the National Anthem and those who did not? Does the finding of a personal vulnerability constraint in high-risk activism apply to this relatively elite population?. Methods: Protest participation during 2017 was determined for every NFL player, along with several variables pertaining to their performance, compensation, and the political atmosphere of their team. Results: Bivariate and multivariate tests both reveal that protest participation was far greater among players with large guaranteed contracts and among players who were well regarded for their performance. Conclusions: Economic vulnerability ranges widely within the NFL such that players hold contracts offering guaranteed payments of anywhere between $92 million and nothing at all. The data here suggest that the personal vulnerability constraint documented in protest participation research also applies to this unique population of high-profile people engaged in a most high-profile protest. Documenting the existence of these constraints helps offer a more systematic foundation to our understanding of political activism behavior among athletes.
Niven, D. (2019). The Effect of Economic Vulnerability on Protest Participation in the National Football League. Social Science Quarterly, 100(4), 997–1008. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12630