Donald Trump Comments on NFL TV Ratings, Colin Kaepernick

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Venetian Hotel on October 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  / AFP / John GURZINSKI        (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

It's no secret ratings for the NFL have been down for the first half of the NFL season, and the cause has been heavily debated.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump apparently knows the source of the issue.

"The NFL is way down in their ratings," Trump said Sunday at a rally in Colorado, via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. "And you know why? Two reasons. Number one is this politics they’re finding is a much rougher game than football and more exciting, and this—honestly we’ve taken a lot of people away from the NFL. And the other reason is [Colin] Kaepernick."

According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Monday Night Football is down 24 percent compared to last season, while Sunday Night Football (19 percent) and Thursday Night Football (18 percent) have also dropped significantly.

The unique 2016 presidential campaign has certainly captured the attention of much of the United States. With two of the three main debates going head-to-head against prime-time football, it is understandable for ratings to take a hit.

The first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton—which took place on a Monday night—was the most-watched debate in history with 84 million viewers, per Brian Stelter of CNN Money.

But it's hard to see why this would have an effect on the rest of the season's ratings so far. And as Florio noted, college football ratings haven't fallen during this same time period.

As for the other assertion, some fans have certainly shown their displeasure with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has protested during the national anthem since the preseason. He explained at the time he didn't want to "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," per Steve Wyche of NFL.com.

According to Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports, a September poll noted 44 percent of fans said they would stop watching football if protests continued. 

While it is impossible to confirm exactly why some fans have stopped watching, games like the recent 6-6 tie between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals likely won't help.

We'll have to wait to find out if ratings return to normal after the Nov. 8 election. If they don't, the NFL and the networks that broadcast its games could have a serious problem.