Houston weighs in on National Football League kneeling protests

President's criticisms spark more protests at NFL games

Conservatives are celebrating the overnight ratings decline of NBC's Sunday Night Football, but a look inside the numbers reveals that ratings were down because the game was lopsided, and not related to the anthem protest.

THE FACTS: NFL games shown to a national audience averaged 16.04 million viewers for the first two weeks of this season, down 11 percent from the 18.1 million people who watched during the same period previous year, the Nielsen company said. Fox "addressed the subject in the same manner as its competitors", beginning their show with a "quick preview of the upcoming Week 3 games before heading immediately into Trump's comments (they did bleep the word "bitch") and statements and tweets from National Football League executives and players".

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Overall, ratings for Sunday's games were down roughly four percent when you combine the coverage on Fox, CBS and NBC.

Debate over the national anthem was "a side issue" that's likely to boost ratings for sports talks shows or pre-game shows, but not affect whether people watch the actual games, said Lee Berke, president of consultant LHB Sports Entertainment & Media Inc. The NFL says ticket sales are "on par" with past year. However, as is the case with many games during the National Football League season at this point, many fans will be wondering how they can watch the action without having to sit down in front of a television on Monday night, and there's plenty of ways to do it.

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Beyond the game itself, the weather could also have been a factor Sunday night.

LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills kneels during the national anthem on Sunday in Orchard Park, New York. Maybe more people are enjoying good late summer weather and are staying outside more this year. However, in an exclusive Action News poll, conducted by Survey USA, almost 50 percent of our viewers in the Valley say it is wrong for someone to not stand when the National Anthem is played.

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In fact, more people have been tuning in.

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