Donald Trump was up and at it early Sunday morning, sending out tweets on his thoughts regarding the growing trend of flag-kneeling NFL players. These tweets are escalating, as this latest round of Trump tweets suggests that a boycott of the NFL games will turn things around, or as he puts it, “you will see change take place fast.” Hours after his tweets went out on Sunday, the first NFL game of the day kicked off in London. Before that game, the American national anthem was performed, and it appears that the players are keeping this kneeling trend going.
Trump has been adamant with his stand that these players who kneel during the national anthem should be “fired” or “suspended” at the very least for refusing to participate in the age-old patriotic ceremony that takes place to honor this country. While there are people on both sides of the fence when it comes to the national anthem debacle at the NFL games, the latest polls do indicate a drop in viewers around the nation.
Sunday morning’s Fox & Friends Weekend aired a man-on-the-street-type segment that they conducted in front of a New York City sports bar. They asked people what they think about this growing trend among NFL players to kneel during the national anthem. The also asked folks what they think about Donald Trump suggesting “fire or suspend.”
While some believed the players have a right to do this, the majority of the people felt it was disrespectful to the nation, and a few added that they felt it disrespected them personally, as a U.S. citizen. Many NFL fans agreed with Trump calling for “fire or suspend,” but a husband and wife, who identified themselves as “Viking” fans, thought that suspending or firing a player is going overboard and it should be left to the coaches to reprimand the players.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
The first Sunday game went off in London at 9:30 a.m. EST between the Ravens and Jaguars, and “dozens of players” from both teams were seen kneeling for the American national anthem, which they still play even when the game is across the pond. However, these same players stood for the British national anthem. According to Fox News on Sunday, people are not happy with this. Mario Bartiromo, who is the host of a Sunday morning finance show on Fox, believes that this will hurt not only the NFL teams but the players.
Fox & Friends Weekend reported on their Sunday morning show that a new J.D. Power poll shows a decline in TV sets around the nation tuning into NFL games, but it also led to a list of reasons why people have tuned out the NFL. The latest J.D. Power poll shows that the decline in NFL TV ratings is happening for a variety of reasons, but the kneeling during the national anthem appears to be out in front.
According to CBS Boston, the new J.D. Power poll has revealed that the national anthem protests, which is led by the players, were indeed a factor in the dip of NFL TV viewers. The trend was started by Colin Kaepernick, who is no longer with an NFL team. CBS suggests the player’s behavior during the national anthem may be “a bigger factor than many may have previously believed. In fact, they may have been the biggest.”
The J.D. Power poll “surveyed 9,200 people who attended at least one football, basketball, or hockey game in 2016 and asked whether they had watched less than last year. Of those that watched fewer games, 26 percent cited the national anthem protests as the reason they watched less, while 24 percent cited either the NFL’s off-field problems with domestic violence or its issues with the pace of TV broadcasts,” reports CBS Boston.
The Washington Post suggests that “it’s starting to look like Colin Kaepernick won’t play in the NFL again.” It is not a question of Kaepernick not wanting to play, it is a question of the “NFL’s ownership’s willingness” to take him back, and so far, it looks like they are unwilling. With starter Andy Dalton falling off a cliff, rumors circulated that the Cincinnati players were advocating for Kaepernick to join the team, but that didn’t happen.
The Washington Post reports “since the San Francisco 49ers told him [Kaepernick] they would cut him and he opted out of his contract, teams have rejected him.” Owners of the teams don’t want the distraction they believe Kaepernick would bring along with him. They are also concerned that their fans won’t accept the first player to go against the tradition by kneeling as they played the national anthem, reports the Post.
With Trump calling for the NFL teams to “fire or suspend” players who don’t honor the national anthem, many are asking it is even something that can legally be done.
“Yes,” according to Gregg Jarrett, who is an attorney on the Fox anchor team, adding that the NFL could fire the players who are doing things that are considered detrimental to the team.
It is not about race, even though some have claimed that it is. It is more about conduct and expression. A discrimination lawsuit could follow. “Conduct detrimental to the teams in the NFL” such as image, losing money
Kneeling during the national anthem is putting a negative light on the team, which could cause the team to lose fans which could eventually lead to loss of revenue. The players’ behavior is about “conduct and expression,” according to Jarrett.
With the NFL already down in numbers with their viewers, will Trump’s suggestion regarding tuning out of the NFL cause a bigger dip in viewers for the NFL? Some folks have reported their plans to tune into the NFL to watch their teams, but if just one person kneels, people are ready to switch the channel, reports Fox & Friends Weekend.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]