President Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday slamming ESPN and the network's benched anchor Jemele Hill amid the controversy over NFL national anthem protests, while threatening to end the “massive tax breaks” for the football league.
“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have 'tanked,' in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Hill, host of “SC6,” called the president a “white supremacist” on Twitter last month, and most recently called for a boycott of Dallas Cowboys advertisers.
ESPN subsequently suspended her for two weeks.
Hill's efforts followed new rules made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said any player who disrespects the flag will not play.
“I know this, we cannot…in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones said. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
Hill issued instructions for “change” on Twitter following Jones’ comments.
“Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers,” Hill tweeted Sunday.
Trump tweeted support for Jones overnight -- but on Tuesday morning, the president questioned the NFL’s “massive tax breaks.”
“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump tweeted.
The NFL’s tax status has been controversial for years. The league announced in 2015 it would voluntarily lose its tax-exempt status, but the league still enjoys various tax breaks. According to Time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the tax-exemption a “distraction” in 2015 and said it has been “mischaracterized repeatedly in recent years.”
Trump is not the only Republican who has slammed the league’s tax break in recent weeks.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., criticized it, saying, “In America, if you want to play sports you’re free to do so. If you want to protest, you’re free to do so. But you should do so on your own dime.”