Donald Trump took aim at NBA players who kneel during the national anthem. The president made an appearance on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning and was asked about the state of the NBA, which has seen nearly all of its players kneel during the anthem to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. Trump did not hold back his thoughts on any athlete protesting before a game.
"When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game," Trump said in the interview via USA Today. "I think it's disgraceful. We work with [the NBA], we worked with them very hard trying to get open. I was pushing for them to get open. Then I see everybody kneeling during the anthem. That's not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling during the game, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game. Let me tell you this, plenty of other people out there, too."
Trump then went on to say ratings are down because of the protests. He then added ratings for baseball and other sports are down as well. "We have to stand up for our flag, stand up for our country," he added. "A lot of people agree with me. If I'm wrong, I'm going to lose an election. That's okay with me. I will always stand for our flag." As far as the Black Lives Matter movement goes, Trump seems to be supportive of it.
"Black Lives Matter," he said. "Nobody has done better for our Black community than me. Nobody. With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln; it's true." Trump then added employment numbers for Black people are the best in history as well as criminal justice reform and opportunity zones.
As far as ratings go, the NBA restart has averaged 1.81 million views through Monday, according to Sports Media Watch. That's a 14% increase from the average before the suspended but that also included regional networks. Right now, NBA games are being shown on ESPN/ABC and TNT. Sports Media Watch also said the first night of the restart seeing a 109% increase when compared to TNT's average. Before the restart, NBA players talked about doing everything they can to support the Black Lives Matter movement including kneeling during the national anthem and placing the phrase "Black Lives Matter" on the courts in Orlando, Florida.