In an interview on Fox & Friends Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that NBA players kneeling during the national anthem was “disgraceful.”
In the phone interview on the popular Fox show, the president added that the American people are also turning away from basketball if the ratings are any indication.
“When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game,” Trump said.
“I think it’s disgraceful. We work with [the NBA], we worked with them very hard trying to get open,” Trump continued. “I was pushing for them to get open. Then I see everybody kneeling during the anthem. That’s not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling during the game, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game. Let me tell you this, plenty of other people out there, too.”
Trump then noted how badly the league is doing in the ratings.
“The ratings for the basketball are way down, as you know. I hear some others are way down, including baseball. We have to stand up for our flag, stand up for our country. A lot of people agree with me. If I’m wrong, I’m going to lose an election. That’s okay with me. I will always stand for our flag,” he said.
While the opening games did see positive viewership, subsequent games began trending down. In fact, recent numbers showed that most cable news programs — even Rachel Maddow on MSNBC — had earned more viewers than the NBA.
For instance, last weekend saw the Lakers-Clippers game earn 3.4 million viewers, while the Pelicans-Jazz brought in a much smaller 2.1 million. Meanwhile, Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson routinely trounce those numbers earning four million or more viewers.
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