Clay Travis: It’s Bad Business for NBA Players to Say They Don’t Care if Trump Tunes Out
After President Trump’s interview on Fox & Friends on Wednesday where he said that he would stop watching NBA games if players kneel during the national anthem, NBA superstar and outspoken Leftist LeBron James decided to speak out.
Trump said in the interview that “[W]hen I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game. 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.”
James responded to a reporter asking for his thoughts on Trump’s comments, to which he responded, “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game.
LeBron James on Donald Trump saying he won’t watch any more NBA games because people have kneeled to protest systemic racism during the national anthem: “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership.” pic.twitter.com/l9sP7LiFsi
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) August 6, 2020
Outkick host Clay Travis explained why this is a bad mentality for James, and the NBA at large, to have:
“Ultimately, if you’re losing viewers, whether it’s the President, who I question maybe he watches a lot of NBA otherwise, I don’t know, but let’s pretend the President is a big NBA fan. If you are losing viewers, because of something you are doing that has nothing to do with your business, that is the very essence of making a poor business decision. Because if your viewership is beginning to decline, and you are telling fans, ‘Hey, we don’t care about you at all,’ I don’t know whether the average NBA player and league member is not sophisticated enough to understand that there are many people who vote for Donald Trump that also like the NBA. Those overlaps are fairly significant. It’s likely that you’re telling 10’s of millions of people who are otherwise interested in your product, ‘Hey, don’t watch. Don’t pay attention to us,’ solely based on politics. I just think it’s a really, really bad move by the NBA. That is going to cost them for years and years to come. Because I think there’ll be a lot of people who are just like, screw it. If you care so desperately about how I’m going to vote, that it impacts whether you think I should watch basketball, then peace out, see ya.
“I would never come on this radio show and say, ‘Hey, if you love Bernie Sanders, don’t ever listen to my radio program again. I don’t care if you leave.’ No. I mean, I would hope that even if you love Bernie Sanders, you could enjoy this radio program. And, I would hope that even if you love Donald Trump, you can enjoy this radio program. I would never write off millions of people who are otherwise potential viewers or listeners of my content based on your politics, first of all, because I just don’t care. Secondly, because it’s just bad business. I would never say, ‘Hey, we’ve got this awesome Outkick VIP, but we don’t want anybody who is in disagreement with some of the things I say on the radio to sign up.’ No, the first amendment is alive and well. To me, the answer is, I wish everybody would watch. I don’t particularly care whether somebody has different politics.
“The game of basketball shouldn’t really impact whether somebody likes basketball. What you think about abortion shouldn’t determine whether or not you can enjoy my team play. What you think about tax policy shouldn’t impact whether you can watch my team play. What you think about anything that has nothing to do with the product itself shouldn’t influence whether you watch basketball and in fact, if it is, that’s a failure of our business.”
Until they stop turning off their fanbase and stop kneeling for the anthem that should unite us all, these sports leagues are unlikely to listen to this obvious advice, and business will suffer. And deservedly so.