Commentary

Trump Engages In Locker Talk, NFL And TV Advertisers Back Free Speech

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.)

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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.

7 comments about "Trump Engages In Locker Talk, NFL And TV Advertisers Back Free Speech".
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  1. Tom Gray from WCMH, September 27, 2017 at 11:14 a.m.

    You've got to have your head in a vacuum to believe this isn't negatively impacted the NFL and their TV ratings.  As a die hard NFL and Steelers fan my entire life, I can't tune in any more because this is all they talk about, I want to be entertained and not forced to listen why these priveleged athletes are not standing for the anthem. It's certainly their right, but we don't have to agree with it, which is our right as well.  And your right, politics has always been a part of sports, but almost entirely positive, this is divisive.  This weekend was the last draw as I watched my team stand in the tunnel during the anthem. They received a massive backlash in pittsburgh, and have already apologized to their fans and will now stand united during the anthem going forward.  DirecTV is even refunding customers because so many are trying to cancel their Sunday ticket, this is bad for the NFL in long run, and if you can't see that you're blind.

  2. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, September 28, 2017 at 2:20 p.m.

    Or, if you feel the same about it as I do, and as many others do, it's a very good thing for the NFL in the long run.  And I won't even call you blind for not realizing that. 

  3. Charles Johnsen from Intersport, September 28, 2017 at 2:57 p.m.

    It would be very interesting to see the reaction of the NFL if sponsors did start to pull out. Hopefully this passes soon. Nobody should be fired but everyone, including the NFL players, should be respectful of our country, our flag and our anthem - and for what each stand.

    I salute J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson for doing good positive deeds and helping their fellow man and woman - these guys are real heros to me.

  4. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, September 28, 2017 at 3:12 p.m.

    Charles:  Please try to understand that the protest of the players has nothing to do with any lack of respect for the flag or the anthem. In fact, the protest shows just the opposite. They are protesting the fact that what all those things stand for are being disrespected by the actions of the police in far too many instances. They have a very honest and valid reason to protest.  And we only have to look at all the publicity the protest is getting, both positive and negative, to see that it is definitely working. 

  5. Charles Johnsen from Intersport, September 28, 2017 at 4:28 p.m.

    Chuck, it's Chuck here too. I don't agree it is working. I don't think it is an appropriate time - message aside - or place. I don't disagree with the protesters reason just the timing. Does not make sense to me. Why not go out early at halftime or at the end of the game or any other time or venue to make their protest? Why pick the one place and time that only further polarizes the nation. I believe in their right to protest but I think (and I don't think I am alone here) their decision to do such at a time we are suppose to be honoring our country is ill conceived. I do undertand what you're saying though.
     

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, September 28, 2017 at 6:40 p.m.

    You may want to read Les Miserables again. 

  7. Ken Kurtz from creative license, September 30, 2017 at 7:09 a.m.

    Too much of a football fan to allow the nonsensical and idiotic expression of some athletes (it's clear they haven't given much thought to, or reflection upon their "kneel-downs") to lead me away from the game that I played in high school and college, and have loved throughout every decade since.

    Let's face it, Black Lives Matter was founded upon lies (Michael Brown of Ferguson never raised his hands in the air, or cried "don't shoot"). Nice sound bite for the left though. He actually committed six crimes the morning he caused his own shooting, and death... the final one was attempting to relieve the police officer that was corraling him for two of those previous crimes (robbery, and assault) committed just minutes earlier, and I don't care whether you're black, white, purple, or rainbow... you are BEGGING to get killed if you try to take a cop's gun, and turn it on him, or her.

    The larger issue here is the unreasonable expectation that some blacks won't be shot by police as law enforcement does their incredibly dangerous jobs on a day to day basis.

    You want to talk equality? Why is it that the left force-feeds us the notion that "conversations need to occur" EXCEPT FOR THE MOST PERTINENT AND IMPORTANT ONE? US Census Bureau confirms that 13% of America's population is black, and US Justice Department confirms that over 80% of all America's violent crime (including over half of all America's murders) IS COMMITTED BY THAT 13% of our population. What is "equal" about that?

    Do not our police have the right to make it home to their loved ones when their shifts are over? In what parallel universe (it can only be a liberal one) can there exist the idea that blacks could ever be policed "equally" to whites when our brave law enforcement officers know that the former are 1200% more likely to take deadly aim at them while they're doing their dangerous, and somewhat thankless (apparently) jobs than the latter.

    This truth is the crux of the matter, but nobody on the left wants to discuss it. In fact, the left will label people thhat bring up these unequivocal trurths as "hateful bigots." Non-starters, clearly, for conducting the conversations that REALLY need to occur.

    Athletes want to kneel down, and protest while our National Anthem is being played, and our flag heldup, and honored during pre-game? Start taking flags into African-American communities, and kneel down there in attempts to dissuade blacks from their incredibly violent proclivities. That could potentially result in some good? What's going on now is just ignorant window dressing.

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