- Most NBA players are kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and the need for social justice activism.
- Donald Trump isn’t happy about it.
- While he claims the protests will hurt the NBA’s ratings, the data tells a different story.
Donald Trump has never been shy about sharing his feelings on athletes kneeling during the national anthem.
When Colin Kaepernick sparked the movement in 2016, most sports fans seemed to agree with the then-candidate that it was inappropriate. Four years later and in the wake of multiple recent events highlighting police brutality, public sentiment has shifted.
Trump’s stance has not.
During a recent phone interview with Fox & Friends, he ranted and raved about the “disgraceful” NBA kneelers.
Video: President Trump rants and raves about national anthem protests
Trump’s Not Watching the NBA – And Absolutely No One Cares
For whatever reason, Trump seems pathologically incapable of enjoying a live sporting event if the athletes engage in social activism before the event starts.
He told Fox & Friends he’s not watching the NBA due to the national anthem protests – just as he “warned” would happen in a tweet last month:
He claims hordes of other fans are tuning out as well.
Trump is about to find out that a lot has changed since 2016. National anthem protests are no longer a winning issue.
Pelicans guard J.J. Reddick said it best following the Jazz-Pelicans game on the opening night of the NBA’s restart:
First of all, I don’t think anybody in the NBA cares if President Trump watches basketball. I couldn’t care less…
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers shared a similar sentiment when asked about Trump’s latest comments.
Video: Doc Rivers says what everyone’s thinking: No one cares if Trump watches the NBA
Doc Rivers responds to Donald Trump saying it's disgraceful that NBA players are kneeling and he stopped watching games – "Well, we lost one guy. So what? We know that justice is on our side and this hat that I'm wearing is what our President is trying to get us to not do." pic.twitter.com/E7jevHmkvP
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) August 5, 2020
And here’s LeBron James:
Video: LeBron James says NBA is not sad that Trump’s tuning out
LeBron James on Donald Trump saying he won’t watch any more NBA games because people have kneeled to protest systemic racism during the national anthem: “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership.” pic.twitter.com/l9sP7LiFsi
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) August 6, 2020
Plenty of People – Including Trump Voters – Are Watching!
Trump’s making a gamble here. He’s speaking out forcefully against the protests – and betting the so-called “silent majority” is secretly on his side.
He claims NFL ratings collapsed when Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in 2016. And he alleges the ratings are down for the NBA in 2020 as well.
That’s just not true.
Although Trump and a handful of his most rabid supporters may be tuning out, it doesn’t look like many other people are. According to Sports Media Watch, NBA ratings are up 14% over the national average prior to the suspension of play in March.
Apparently, Trump’s base isn’t as willing to give up sports as he thinks they are:
Would it be nice if we could watch a game without “the politics?”
We look to sports as a temporary escape from the chaos and turmoil, but complaining about players kneeling during the national anthem only makes things worse.
If athletes can use their platform to advocate for the social changes that actually address the chaos, aren’t we going to be better off in the end?
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.