For the third consecutive week, ratings for the National Football League (NFL) have plummeted, as players continue anti-American protests during the playing of the national anthem. This week’s drop-off also coincided with the Monday broadcast of the first presidential debate between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
Ratings for Sunday Night Football featuring the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys scored a 12.9 Nielsen rating, down from the game’s 13.7 rating last week. Week two, in turn, was down from week one’s 13.9 rating, according to Sports Business Daily. Ratings also dropped more than they did during week three a year ago for the slate of midday regional games, falling by 18 percent.
NFL viewership continues its rocky start to '16; "MNF" hit hard by the presidential debate.https://t.co/0Q0GEZwexw
— SBJ/SBD (@sbjsbd) September 28, 2016
Monday Night Football performed even worse. Monday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints received a low 5.7 rating, a 38 percent plunge from week three of last year.
Notably, the game was competing against the first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, an event that earned the biggest debate audience in U.S. political history. According to CNN Money, the September 26 debate brought in more than 80 million viewers.
But the NFL has also been suffering under the anti-American protests during the playing of the national anthem, which San Francisco 49ers second string quarterback Colin Kaepernick started three weeks ago.
Since Kaepernick decided to sit out the anthem instead of standing at attention as everyone else was doing, a host of other players across the NFL have joined him in his attack on the United States.
Some have decided to emulate Kaepernick’s action of staying seated during the anthem. Others took up his secondary protest of kneeling in the field during the song. Still others have taken to raising the militant black power fist in the air during the anthem.
Not content with his on-field protests, Kaepernick has continued his anti-American rants off the field. Recently, as a rejoinder to GOP nominee Donald Trump, he said the United States was never great.
“He always says, ‘Make America great again,'” Kaepernick said of Trump. “Well, America has never been great for people of color and that’s something that needs to be addressed. Let’s make America great for the first time.”
Since his first attempt to criticize the country, Kaepernick’s anti-American protest has spread to other sports, including high school and college athletics.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.