CNN host John King said Sunday that NFL owners have data supporting President Donald Trump's claim that television ratings have gone down because of players' protests during the national anthem.
"NFL owners so far siding with their players for their right to free speech, but they're also keeping close tabs on the financial impact and the public relations impact of this confrontation," King said.
He went on to say that the NFL owners have research "clearly showing the president is right" when he claims the national anthem protests are one factor in TV ratings dropping.
"Since the president weighed in, the owners are now dealing with a surge in ticket holder requests for refunds," King said.
President Donald Trump sparked a firestorm last Friday when he told an Alabama crowd that NFL owners should not tolerate and fire players who disrespect the American flag. He told the crowd that the owners should say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now," if a player kneels during the national anthem.
Approximately 150 players sat or knelt during the national anthem before the NFL games last Sunday, a substantially increased number likely prompted by Trump's critical remarks. This response did not stop Trump from tweeting again on Saturday.
"Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!" he wrote.
Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017