President Donald Trump labeled the NBA a "political organization" amid the league's latest protests against racial injustice.
The league postponed three playoff games Wednesday and another three Thursday as players protested in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Asked for his reaction to the protest, Trump first started by claiming the league's television ratings have fallen off greatly.
Asked for his thoughts on NBA players going on strike following yet another police shooting of a black man, Trump says, "I don't know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad." pic.twitter.com/p0OYa1dFrO— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 27, 2020
"I don't know about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are tired of the NBA, frankly," he told reporters before accepting the Republican Party nomination in this year's presidential election. "But I don't know too much about the protest, but I know their ratings have been very bad and that's unfortunate.
"They've become a political organization and that's not a good thing for sports or the country."
Sports Media Watch reported that the rating for Saturday's game on ABC between the Lakers and Trail Blazers was down 23 percent the network's playoff opener last year between the Clippers and Warriors, and total viewership was down 21 percent. It was ABC's least-watched playoff game in five years, "with the caveat that this year marked the first time since 2004 that it did not air a game on the opening day of the postseason," SMW noted.
SMW also reported that Sunday's Clippers-Mavericks game on ABC was down 45 percent in rating and 47 percent in viewership compared to Clippers-Warriors last year. LA-Dallas also failed to outdraw the Indianapolis 500 on NBC.
The NBA playoffs are expected to resume Friday or Saturday in the Orlando bubble.