Monday Night Football ratings are down 24% from this time last year. Sunday Night Football is down 19% and Thursday night is down 18%. Donald Trump has an explanation for the diminished ratings.
At a rally in Colorado on Sunday, Trump had two reasons for the falling ratings: politics and Colin Kaepernick.
“I don’t know if you know, but the NFL is way down in their ratings. Way down,” Trump said. “And you know why? Two reasons. Number one is, this politics they’re finding is a rougher game than football, and more exciting.”
“Honestly, we’ve taken a lot of people away from the NFL. And the other reason is Kaepernick,” the Republican presidential candidate said.
Trump is referencing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has been kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games to protest police violence and concerns over racial inequality.
Trump may be onto something because a recent poll by Yahoo Sports and YouGov supports his claim. In the study of 1,136 Americans who identified themselves as NFL fans, 29% of respondents said they have been watching fewer NFL games this season compared to last season. The #1 reason for watching less NFL games was national anthem protests, as 40 percent of the participants listed boycotting by Kaepernick as a reason.
In August, Trump commented on Kaepernick’s protest and suggested that the 49ersQB should leave the country if he is so unhappy.
“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.”