President Donald Trump has fired off more than 55,000 tweets. Some have been directed at the world of sports. He has voiced his opinion on Colin Kaepernick. Trump has touched on the state of the NFL. He’s opinionated, he’s argumentative, but he’s also been right about one aspect of the NBA.
Trump blasted former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick
When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem beginning in 2016, it created a firestorm. Kaepernick would kneel during the anthem as a way to protest police brutality and social injustice. Many, including President Donald Trump, took aim at Kaepernick.
“I watched Colin Kaepernick, and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an interview in 2017. “They could have then suspended him for two games, and they could have suspended him if he did it a third time, for the season, and you would never have had a problem. But I will tell you, you cannot disrespect our country, our flag, our anthem — you cannot do that.”
Trump even went further, saying Kaepernick should be ‘fired.’ “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired,'” he once told his supporters, according to NBC Sports. “You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.'”
Trump also had a problem with the NBA restart
After the NBA shut down for roughly four months because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the league saw a dramatic change. During the hiatus, George Floyd had his neck kneeled on by a Minneapolis cop and died. Floyd’s death brought back visions of Colin Kaepernick and his protests regarding social injustice.
The NBA restarted July 30 and had a whole new look. ‘Black Lives Matter’ was written down the sideline of the basketball court. Players wore league-approved messages on the backs of their jerseys regarding racism and inequality. Players, despite having a league rule that states they must stand for the national anthem, kneeled in unity.
President Donald Trump has been very vocal about NBA players kneeling as well. He received backlash for criticizing players. Trump then got some backlash of his own. According to USA Today, Trump was asked if he received any criticism from players. “No, I haven’t noticed them sending (criticism) back to me,” He said. “I wouldn’t be surprised. There are some very, very, very nasty, frankly very dumb (players). I haven’t noticed that.”
Trump was right about the NBA ratings
While President Trump has been harsh on the NBA, he’s been right about one thing. Trump mocked the league and said its rating would tank. Sure enough, those ratings have fallen, according to Forbes. Trump said the league would be in trouble.
“The kneeling (during the national anthem) has been horrible for basketball,” Trump said, according to USA Today. “They’ve had horrible ratings, low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. There was a nastiness about the NBA the way (protesting) was done. The NBA is in trouble, bigger trouble than they understand.”
While the NBA might not be in big trouble, the ratings have seen a decline. The reason for that decline, according to a recent poll, is because the league has become ‘too political.’ A new Harris Poll showed 39% of sports fans said they are watching fewer games. The Harris Poll, a veteran polling company, polled nearly 2,000 people and gave them 10 options why they are watching less basketball. “The league has become too political” was the clear-cut winner, taking 38 percent of the vote.