“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison."
The first NFL Sunday of the season is in the books and President Donald Trump has already resumed his crusade against the league. Before the NFL's slate of Week 1 games even kicked off on Sunday afternoon, Trump took to twitter to mock the league's drop in viewership while suggesting that ratings would improve if players standing for the anthem were shown on the broadcast.
“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison,” Trump tweeted yesterday morning. “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!”
Reports show ratings for Thursday's game were down 13%, but the kickoff in Philadelphia was delayed by more than 30 minutes due to rain, pushing the broadcast later into the evening. Philadelphia Eagles players Michael Bennett and Jay Ajayi took a seat on the bench near the end of the anthem before Thursday’s regular season opener, but there were no other visible protests.
On Sunday, Miami Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt in protest, as they did during the preseason, while defensive end Robert Quinn raised a fist.
The NFL had passed a new anthem policy in May, but those rules were put on hold. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL is not expected to implement a new policy on the national anthem this season, no matter how many meetings and conversations occur regarding the topic.