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Trump Blasts NFL, Blames Poor Ratings on Anthem Protesters

After fans greeted the return of the NFL with some of the lowest TV ratings in years, President Donald Trump said players have reaped what they have sown.

Although Deadline noted that a little over 19 million people watched the game, viewership dropped 13 percent over last year’s NFL opener.

The 2017 season kickoff matchup between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs had been the record holder for the least viewers, and was down 12 percent from the 2016 opener, according to Variety.

That makes the 2018 NFL season debut the worst-performing kickoff game since 2008.

Trump tweeted his judgment.

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Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018

“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!” Trump tweeted.

Earlier in the week, after Nike made Colin Kaepernick the face of its new ad campaign, Trump had said Nike, like the NFL, just doesn’t get it. Kaepernick is a former NFL quarterback whose 2016 refusal to stand for the national anthem grew into an NFL-wide protest.

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Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018

Did the NFL protests tarnish your image of the NFL’s players?

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” he tweeted.

In an Op-Ed for the Players Tribune, the NFL Players Coalition said that off-field efforts by players to change society should get attention and not just what players do before the game, KFGO reported.

“Our work will continue this season. We hope the media stops asking the same old questions about, ‘Will they or won’t they protest?’ Instead, we want them to focus on our efforts to create a better country for every citizen, and on the reasons why we have not yet met that goal,” the players wrote.

“And we hope that the press, our fans and our skeptics recognize that our desire to draw attention to these pressing issues, either through protest or our off-the-field work, is our own vow of loyalty,” they added.

On Sunday, two members of the Miami Dolphins knelt before Miami’s game against the Tennessee Titans, USA Today reported.

Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt in protest. Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raised a fist during the anthem.

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My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed! They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward!

“Love is at the root of our resistance!”✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/QQtF2e2UXv

— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) September 9, 2018

On Thursday, no players knelt at the start of the anthem, although Michael Bennett of the Philadelphia Eagles sat before the anthem was over.



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