The NFL’s TV ratings dipped again in the third week -- following a couple of earlier declines. But this has nothing do with anything the President has said recently.
President Trump has called for NFL players to be fired or suspended if they do not stand for the national anthem, all for showing a lack of patriotism. At press time, no NFL players have been fired.
This may be some new locker room talk from Trump.
NFL players taking a knee originally began a year ago with San Francisco 49ers’s Colin Kaepernick doing this during the national anthem, and has expanded to other players. (It first happened during President Obama's tenure. Obama was careful not to take sides and focused on the First Amendment right of free speech.)
Trump added that fans shouldn’t attend games, or we are guessing, refrain from watching the games on TV. (He did say locked arms by NFL players while standing is OK.)
NFL TV ratings have been generally falling this year -- around 10% or so -- following declines of a year ago in the early season. Back then, three major quarterbacks were absent from the TV screens: Tom Brady (suspension); Tony Romo (injury, then retirement); and Peyton Manning (retirement).
But whatever Trump said recently didn’t really work. Sunday afternoon ratings at CBS were up 4%, with NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was down 10% -- in line with previous drops on the night.
It had some TV analysts asking: Will Trump’s comments have an effect on TV ad revenues? Nope. Zero, so far. Many big NFL advertisers have said they respect an individual's rights to express their views.
All this aside, even with the diminishing ratings, TV advertisers aren’t going away -- because the NFL continues to deliver high viewership relative to other TV advertising.
And in a related story, President Trump cancelled a customary White House appearance of a sports champion -- the NBA’s Golden State Warriors -- due to players' reactions to many of his comments.
On Saturday, Warriors’ Stephen Curry said his views had “kind of cemented even further about how things in our country are going, especially with [Trump] representing us in a very damaging way.”
Timing is everything.
During NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” the NFL aired a message of “unity” made to "demonstrate the power of football to bring people together," the league said. The one-minute spot was originally produced for the Super Bowl earlier this year.
Should politics get involved in sports? The real answer: It has been there all along.