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DirecTV said to offer refunds over NFL anthem controversy

Sunday Ticket subscribers upset over players' pregame protests are getting their money back, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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.

Jim Rogash / Getty Images

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

The refund offer is being extended to at least some people who contact the satellite TV service and cite players kneeling during pregame performances of the national anthem as a reason for canceling their $280 package, customer service representatives told The Wall Street Journal. That 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. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,'" he told a rally in Alabama. The remarks were met with pregame protests by nearly every NFL team on Sunday, as well as a league statement calling the comments "divisive."

It wasn't immediately clear whether the controversy is hurting NFL game ratings, as Trump suggested in a tweet Sunday.

CBS said Monday that its Week 3 ratings increased 4 percent compared with the same week last year. (Disclosure: 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 league 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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