Despite concerns about the National Football League's sliding TV ratings, famed sports agent Leigh Steinberg says the league is still doing much better than other programs.
"The NFL dominated the ratings last week with the No. 1, No. 2, No. 5 and 6 out of the top 10 shows. So, it's not only the most popular sport, it's the most popular form of televised entertainment," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
"It has much higher ratings than the president does," said Steinberg, whose career served as an inspiration for director Cameron Crowe's "Jerry Maguire," a 1996 movie starring Tom Cruise.
NFL players kneeled or sat Sunday during the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump, who criticized the players and the league on Twitter.
On Sunday, Trump targeted the league, saying NFL "attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN" and some people aren't watching because "they love our country."
@realDonaldTrump: Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!
@realDonaldTrump: ...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.
Steinberg said he doesn't believe that the protesting players are being "unpatriotic" or that they don't value the flag. "They're disturbed about an issue," he said. "I would've stood with them this last Sunday."
He added the players must make it very clear "that the forum they've chosen, which offends some people, because it's the flag, because it's veterans, because it's the national anthem, that they're not being unpatriotic. That they're following the tradition of free speech."
Regarding the protesting players' job security, Steinberg said the NFL owners do have all the power and have the ability to cut a player.