By now, a headline like the one above should have set off the hot take alarm, easily traced to smoke rising from Shaun King’s computer.

It’s been over a year since the New York Daily News hired King to fill the newly created position of senior justice writer, but only a couple of months since he published one of the most important things he’d ever written: an exposé blowing the lid off the national anthem and its mostly forgotten verse celebrating the murder of enslaved Americans. Now that was a hot take, even if it was based on a glaring misinterpretation of the lyrics.

King was back on the case of the anthem this week in a column placing the blame for sinking NFL ratings on racist whites who just can’t abide free black men like Colin Kaepernick.

The protests during the Star Spangled Banner very likely have contributed to the drop in TV ratings for the NFL, but King’s source is “one definitive poll” of 841 adults. A blog post on the study doesn’t mention if those adults polled were football fans or regular NFL viewers who cited their own reasons for tuning out; it seems the survey group was asked to indicate which factors out of a list of options they thought were hurting viewership.

The leading factor – the one receiving the most “yesses” – was players not standing for the national anthem. However, the seven factors all evoked a large number of yes responses, so that even the least chosen, at 33%, represents a lot of fans.

56% of respondents cited players not standing for the anthem, with 50% citing the distraction of the presidential campaign and 47% the controversy over the handling of domestic violence cases involving players.

Other factors included games on too many days, over-saturating the market (44%), increased interest in post-season baseball (39%), the ongoing controversy over head injuries (33%) and a decline in quality of play on the field (33%).

Of course there’s a massive leap from taking offense at players not standing for the anthem to racism, but King never fails to make the jump.