NFL

Brett Favre Sides with President Trump and Blames Politics in Sports for Lower TV Ratings

This summer Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre played golf with President Donald Trump. After he received considerable backlash, Favre played it off as something he would do if any President asked him. This week, however, the former Green Bay Packers star quarterback’s earlier position is being called into question after he participated in a town hall with President Trump and made a comment that parroted one of the talking points the administration has been saying about sports for months. 

Brett Favre joins President Trump for round of golf

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Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre played a round of golf with President Donald Trump in late July. The response Favre received was swift and severe. 

While many suggested playing golf with the President served as an endorsement of his policies, others expressed concern about the timing. Favre and the President hit the links while the nation was in the throes of multiple crises, including Hurricane Hanna making landfall in Texas, the ever-expanding pandemic with its more than 150,000 deaths, and social unrest burgeoning in cities across the country. 

Brett Favre answered his critics a couple of days later in an interview with USA Today. “I would have played golf with any president because I respect the office of the United States,” Favre said. “It’s an honor. If Barack Obama asked to golf with me, I would have taken the invitation.”

Brett Favre questions President Trump in town hall

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While many gave Brett Favre the benefit of the doubt, accepting that his round of golf was not an endorsement, and he would play if any Commander-in-Chief asked, Favre did something this week that suggested otherwise. During the taping of a Presidential Town Hall for an episode of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s “America This Week,” host Eric Bolling turned over the floor for a question from his friend Brett Favre.

“The NBA and the NFL are struggling with lower ratings, as fans clearly do not want political messaging mixed with their sports,” Favre stated. “So how should the leagues support and promote an anti-racism position without becoming political and alienating fans?”

Brett Favre’s initial statement attributing lower television ratings in sports to politics, and in particular, social justice activism, has been a trademark of Republicans. It has been repeated by senator Ted Cruz, as well as conservative media, including Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, and the website Breitbart. 

Not surprisingly, when President Trump answered he agreed with Favre on the lower ratings. However, he failed to provide any substantive response to the Hall of Fame quarterback’s question on promoting anti-racism, but instead suggested fans “want to have these players stand and salute, or put their hand over their heart, or at least stand for the national anthem and salute.”  

Ratings down across all sports and TV watching in general

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While Brett Favre blamed lower ratings in sports on athletes and leagues voicing their concerns about social issues, and in doing so echoed the President and Republican Party, the question remains — is it true?  

According to Sports Media Watch, the ratings for this year’s NBA Finals were down 49 percent from last year, when they occurred during their traditional May-June period. Through Week 5, the New York Times has detailed how the NFL’s ratings are down 13 percent. 

Those two sports, however, are not alone. Viewership of major sporting events is down across the board, which includes leagues with no social-justice messaging. The U.S. Open in golf was down 42 percent, the Kentucky Derby was 43 percent lower, and the Stanley Cup finals were down 61 percent. 

The declining numbers are not isolated to 2020, but a years-long trend of decreasing viewers in sports watching and television watching in general with more and more households “cutting the cord.” AT&T has lost approximately 1 million customers each of the last two quarters. 

Brett Favre mirroring President Trump’s previous comments on sports and politics at this week’s town hall confirmed that he’s not as unbiased as he wanted people to believe during his golf outing this summer, and he’s not interested in understanding the facts.