President Trump took a jab Tuesday at the NFL’s declining viewership after a week in which television ratings were down but the number of players refusing to stand for the national anthem was up.
He tweeted that the NFL is having trouble filling stadiums because the “American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem.”
The NFL’s Thanksgiving games were turkeys from a ratings standpoint, hitting multiyear lows in all three time slots, while three of the four national windows on Sunday also experienced drops from last year, according to Sports Business Daily.
Meanwhile, the number of players refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” jumped from five to 19 in Week 12, according to the ESPN tally.
The increase was due mainly to Seattle Seahawks, which saw 11 players sit or kneel after standing during the previous week’s Salute to Service game honoring the military.
This season’s 6.3 percent decline in ratings represents $500 million in lost revenue for the NFL’s television partners, Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN, according to Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis in a Nov. 16 report.
He blamed the drop on schedule changes, “bad football,” the move of two teams to Los Angeles as well as the protests, adding that the networks will need a “fundamental restructuring of TV windows to avoid losing even more money in the years ahead.”
The first and second Thanksgiving games registered the lowest ratings in those time slots since 2008, while the third contest between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins saw the smallest viewership since NBC began airing the primetime game in 2012.
“The NFL protesters are kneeling themselves out of a job,” said BizPac Review’s Samantha Chang in a Nov. 24 article.
On Friday, the president singled out Friday NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, currently in negotiations with team owners for a contract extension, saying that he had “lost control of the hemorrhaging league.”