NFL ratings are supposedly down because of player protests—and not excessive brain damage claims, or off-field violence against women, or crass military propaganda—which all started with former Niner Colin Kaepernick taking a knee last season. But attendance appears to be dwindling as well. TV cameras and social media posts from reporters have shown a sea of vacant red seats during kickoff and halftime at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. A few holier-than-thou 49ers sportswriters whipped themselves into an unwritten-rule lather on Oct. 22, when Hall-of-Famer Dwight Clark, who’s been diagnosed with ALS, gave a heartfelt speech to a half-empty crowd. Apparently, good players deserve a delayed bathroom break and doffed cap while thousands of other NFL bodies should be considered expendable and deservedly forgotten as the fans flush. Fly reached out to 49ers flacks to see just how bad things have gotten, but everything is apparently all sunny in Levi’s Stadium—and not just the sunbaked east side. The team claims that 55,000 dutiful patrons came through the turnstiles last Sunday to watch a slogfest with the Arizona Cardinals, and all those empty chairs are actually due to fans enjoying more than six different club areas. But according to sources, the 49ers’ argument that they simply built a stadium that is too fan friendly is BS. Word is John York, the father of 49ers CEO Jed York, had quite a bit of input on stadium design more than 10 years ago, back when the plan was to build in San Francisco. Various media reports have suggested the 49ers more or less stuck with the same stadium specs and tried to fit a square peg in a round hole in Santa Clara, where the lows can be roughly 20 degrees warmer than Hunters Point. Fly also heard that the stadium had to be turned slightly to the west to fit the property boundaries, resulting in even more sunshine on the stands. Niners officials disputed past reports and Fly’s sources, noting that York “was involved” in the design but wasn’t playing Legos with Levi’s. As for the heat issues, the 49ers said the stadium’s positioning is close enough to due north and they’re waiting to hear back from architectural firm Populous to find ways to keep things cool.