President Trump’s rivalry with the National Football may be making headlines this week, but the rivalry is anything but new. Trump has criticized the NFL numerous times through the years, and even sued the league after his 1986 purchase of the USFL football team the New Jersey Generals, in an antitrust lawsuit.
In the years since, Trump has criticized the league for rules against helmet-to-helmet combat, criticized President Obama for weighing in on the Washington Redskins’ name controversy, and in 2014 he questioned the league’s tax exemption status while mocking the league’s ratings.
However, Trump recently took things to the next level, criticizing the league’s handling of players who kneel during the national anthem. He went on to say that owners should fire those “son of a bitches” in response to the protests.
He went on to once again criticize NFL ratings, saying they were down “massively”, which they are not. Ratings did fall during the first two weeks of the season, but some of the declines can be traced back to increased coverage and interest in Hurricane Irma, which hit during the NFL’s opening weekend.
The response to his comments were quick and harsh, and the ultimate effect was a far large number of silent protests at the NFL games over the weekend.
Trump has once again managed to deliver a very decisive message, and the rest of the NFL season is likely to be very politically charged. While Trump may want his comments to hurt the league, and result in fan boycotts, it seems as if his comments may have backfired, and after accounting for Monday night Cowboys game, ratings for week 3 are likely to be higher than last season.
So who wins? Let’s take a look and see.