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Along the sidelines of National Football League games across the country and in London, coaches, support staff and even some owners joined team members in a silent response to Trump’s weekend denunciation of players who kneel during the anthem as unpatriotic.
In a gesture initiated last season by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, several NFL players have routinely “taken one knee” during the playing of the anthem. It is intended to call attention to what the protesting players see as a pattern of racism in the treatment of African-Americans by U.S. police.
Detroit - Members - Lions - Knelt - Singer
In Detroit, several members of the Lions knelt while singer Rico Lavelle dropped to one knee and pumped a fist in the air at the end of his performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
President Donald Trump has turned watching football on Sunday, one of America’s most popular activities, into an act of political protest at a time when NFL ratings are already under pressure.
TV - Networks - Viewership - NFL - Rash
TV networks are already worried about declining viewership of the NFL, which has endured a rash of public relations disasters in recent years. When the latest ratings emerge Monday, the president will be able to use the slightest drop in viewership as proof that fans are fed up with the NFL and its players’ activism. Networks, on the other hand, may use any increase as evidence that politics are bringing added attention to a sport that Standard Media Index says generated a record $3.5 billion in advertising revenue last year.
“There will be a lot of attention paid to ratings, and it will be fascinating to see if more people tune into the beginning of games just to see what happens,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group. With so many forces at play, including viewers’ changing entertainment tastes, “it will be impossible to connect cause...
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A pox on both their houses!