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Donald Trump continues attacks on NFL—but his biggest league ally just stood up to him

Players are livid.

 

Josh Katzowitz

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Published Sep 24, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 4:29 pm CDT

About 36 hours after the U.S. president referred to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a “son of a bitch” for kneeling during the national anthem, Donald Trump on Sunday morning continued his attacks on the league and the players who protest.

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For the third straight day, Trump blasted the NFL and its employees.

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Those tweets continued the theme of his thoughts from Saturday.

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It’s true: The NFL’s TV ratings were down in 2016. As ESPN’s Darren Rovell notes, ratings were about 8 percent lower last year. But the leaguewide attendance increased in 2016 and reportedly was the third-highest in NFL history and the highest in nine years.

Though there is evidence Kaepernick’s silent protests impacted some people’s decision whether to watch football, it’s certainly not the only reason. The general trend of cord-cutting and the fact that so much airtime was taken up by the presidential election also might have played a role.

Either way, Trump’s tweets made quite an impact on Saturday and Sunday, as players, NFL teams, and the players’ union denounced his words.

https://twitter.com/JOEL9ONE/status/911725569808699393

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And though Trump has plenty of allies among NFL owners, at least a dozen teams issued statements in support of their players, including New England’s Robert Kraft, a longtime friend of Trump who donated $1 million to the inauguration last year.

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Now the question remains: How will NFL players respond when national anthems are played across the country on Sunday afternoon?

Update 8:43am CT: With the Ravens and Jaguars kicking off Week 3 in London on Sunday morning, we’ve already seen how two NFL teams have responded to Trump’s criticism. Both teams locked arms during the national anthem, and multiple Baltimore players took a knee.

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*First Published: Sep 24, 2017, 7:47 am CDT