DirecTV said to offer refunds over NFL anthem controversy – CNET

Houston Texans v New England Patriots

Members of the New England Patriots kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on Sunday in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

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DirecTV is reportedly offering refunds to customers who want to cancel their subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket over players’ national anthem protests.

At least some customers who contact the satellite TV service and cite the players kneeling during pregame performances of the national anthem as a reason for canceling their $280 package are being offered refunds, customer service representatives tell The Wall Street Journal. The offer would go against DirecTV’s policy of not offering refunds for the package, which allows fans to watch out-of-market games, once the season has begun.

The change represents the latest twist in a controversy that has captivated the American public since President Donald Trump on Friday called for players who kneel during the national anthem to be fired and referred to them as a “son of a bitch.” Those remarks were met with pregame protests by nearly every NFL on Sunday.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the controversy is having a negative impact on NFL game ratings, as Trump suggested in a tweet Monday.

CBS said Monday its Week 3 ratings increased 4 percent compared with the same week last year. (CBS is the parent company of CNET.) An NFL spokesman told ESPN that overall ratings were up 3 percent for Week 3 compared with Week 3 of last year.

Still, the NFL isn’t as popular with TV viewers as it used to be.  Viewership for the NFL was down 14 percent during the first week of the 2017-18 season compared with last year’s first week, according to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.

DirecTV-parent AT&T declined to comment.

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