CNN’s John King reported on Sunday that NFL owners have conducted research supporting President Trump’s claim that TV ratings have dropped because of players’ protests during the national anthem.
“I’m told the owners have research clearly showing the president is right when he says the anthem protests are one factor in a TV ratings drop,” King said during a broadcast Sunday morning. “And since the president weighed in, the owners are now dealing with a surge in ticket-holder requests for refunds.”
Other sports leagues are closely watching what has happened in the NFL, King reported.
Trump has been heavily critical of NFL players who kneel during the playing of the national anthem. The trend began last season when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling in protest over police brutality in the U.S.
Last month, Trump said that NFL owners should fire protesting players. He has also encouraged NFL fans to boycott the league.
Data does show that NFL ratings have dropped significantly through the first three weeks of the season. According to USA Today and other outlets, ratings have slipped 10 percent so far compared to last season.
The cause of that decline has been hotly debated, with Trump supporters attributing it to fans’ anger over the protests.