President Donald Trump previously said that he will turn off NBA games when he sees players kneeling during the national anthem. Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James later responded and said that the league won't be sad to lose Trump. Radio host Clay Travis has since weighed in on the feud and said that he believes James' mindset is "bad for business."
"Ultimately, if you're losing viewers, whether it's the President, who I question maybe he watches a lot of NBA otherwise, I don't know, but let's pretend the President is a big NBA fan," Travis said, per Bongino.com. "If you are losing viewers, because of something you are doing that has nothing to do with your business, that is the very essence of making a poor business decision. Because if your viewership is beginning to decline, and you are telling fans, 'Hey, we don’t care about you at all.'
"I don't know whether the average NBA player and league member is not sophisticated enough to understand that there are many people who vote for Donald Trump that also like the NBA," Travis continued. "Those overlaps are fairly significant. It's likely that you're telling 10's of millions of people who are otherwise interested in your product, 'Hey, don't watch. Don't pay attention to us,' solely based on politics. I just think it's a really, really bad move by the NBA. That is going to cost them for years and years to come. Because I think there'll be a lot of people who are just like, 'screw it. If you care so desperately about how I’m going to vote, that it impacts whether you think I should watch basketball, then peace out, see ya.'"
As Travis continued to explain, he would take a different approach with his radio show. He wouldn't tell Bernie Sanders supporters to never listen. He expressed the desire to have supporters of both Sanders and Donald Trump listen to and enjoy his radio show. He said that he doesn't care about political differences between him and the audience members before reiterating that shutting out potential listeners is just "bad business."
With more sports participating in protests, there are questions about potential impacts on ratings and viewership. Will fans turn off the NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL as the athletes continue to kneel or make political statements? The answer is ultimately unknown, but Travis sees a scenario in which the leagues suffer due to a "bad business" approach.