According to CBS Sports, Trump gave two theories on why ratings have been down—especially for primetime games on “Sunday Night Football,” “Monday Night Football,” and “Thursday Night Football.”
Trump said that people are more focused on politics and the U.S. election season than football.
“I don’t know if you know, but the NFL is way down in their ratings,” Trump said during a rally last week—before he was elected president. “And you know why? Two reasons: Number one is this politics they’re finding is a much rougher game than football, and more exciting, and this—honestly we’ve taken a lot of people away from the NFL.”
The two presidential debates between Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton generated more viewers than two competing NFL games.
The other reason, said Trump, is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “The other reason is Kaepernick,” Trump said. “Kaepernick.”
Kaepernick has led players in protesting the national anthem before games. The embattled quarterback said it’s to protest against perceived systemic racism in he U.S.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, however, doesn’t believe Kaepernick’s protest is a reason why ratings are down.
“No, we don’t think that’s a factor and our network partners don’t either,” he said in mid-October, reported CBS.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Goodell told the newspaper that this year’s decline is “cyclical” in nature. “We want to take as much what we call dead time, non-action out of the game, so that we can make the game more exciting,” Goodell said.