President Trump tweets about NFL ratings ahead of season openers

"If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back?"

Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reads a letter from New England Patriots NFL football coach Bill Belichick to a campaign rally in 2016. –AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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President Donald Trump has tweeted his disapproval of the NFL on Sunday morning before the first full slate of games.

The president has criticized players for their demonstrations protesting social injustice during the national anthem, and the league for not requiring players to be on the sideline at attention when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played.

He made reference to lower ratings on NBC in Thursday night’s season opener in which Super Bowl champion Philadelphia beat Atlanta 18-12.

“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison,” Trump tweeted. “Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”

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The NFL unilaterally passed a policy requiring players to stand at attention for the anthem or to stay in the locker room or in the tunnel under the stands. When that policy met with heavy criticism, it was put on hold while the league and players’ association discussed other options. Those discussions are continuing.