Trump mocks NFL for ratings drop in season opener; suggests numbers would improve if players didn’t kneel

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Hours earlier than the NFL season was set to kick off in full on Sunday, President Trump took a dig on the league’s declining viewership for its primetime opener final Thursday, when the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Atlanta Falcons.

Calling the viewership “the bottom in a decade,” Trump recommended that if gamers stood for “The Star-Spangled Banner” then the rankings would enhance.

“Wow, NFL first recreation rankings are method down over an already actually unhealthy final yr comparability,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Viewership declined 13%, the bottom in over a decade.”

The tweet continued: “If the gamers stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it’s all proven on broadcast, possibly rankings may come again? In any other case worse!”

In response to NBC, which broadcast the sport between the Eagles and Falcons, the primetime opener drew a 13.four in a single day ranking, down eight % from final yr’s NFL kickoff recreation between the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and New England Patriots.

Whereas quite a lot of elements conspired to affect the viewership – a mediocre first half and a thunderstorm that delayed the beginning by an hour – Sports activities Media Watch famous that the sport was nonetheless the bottom in a single day ranking for a season opener in 10 years, when the 2008 kickoff recreation was moved up so it ended previous to Sen. John McCain’s acceptance speech on the Republican Nationwide Conference.

The low rankings supplied extra fodder for Trump’s ongoing battle with the NFL over sure gamers kneeling or refusing to face throughout the nationwide anthem.

Whereas gamers have asserted that the protest — which began two seasons in the past when former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee — is about bringing consideration to racial inequality, police brutality and different points, Trump has referred to as it disrespectful to the Armed Forces and regularly correlated the protests with the NFL’s declining viewership.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (heart) takes a knee throughout an NFL recreation to protest police brutality.

 (The Related Press)

Among the many prized 18-45 demographic, Nilesen reported that the NFL’s viewership did decline 12 % within the 2017 season. However this decline mirrors a pattern throughout all broadcast tv, which in complete dipped 16 % in 2017 thanks largely to the rise in recognition of streaming providers comparable to Netflix and Hulu.

Together with the rankings, Trump additionally slammed the NFL for working a controversial Nike business that includes Kaepernick. The business, which was launched final Wednesday, highlights celebrity athletes LeBron James, Serena Williams and others, and touches on the controversy of NFL gamers protesting.

Kaepernick lately renegotiated a multiyear settlement with the athletic model to make him one of many faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Simply Do It” marketing campaign, based on an individual acquainted with the scenario who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of particulars of the deal had not been revealed publicly.

The endorsement deal between Nike and Kaepernick prompted a flood of debate earlier within the week. It was a trending subject on Twitter and different social networks, with some followers urging a boycott of the corporate’s garments and sneakers — even burning and chopping out the signature swoosh logos on their gear.

Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Nike is getting “killed” over the endorsement deal.

“Nike is getting completely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump tweeted. “I’m wondering if they’d any concept that it could be this manner? So far as the NFL is anxious, I simply discover it onerous to look at, and at all times will, till they stand for the FLAG!”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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