Since the George W. Bush administration introduced the presidential Super Bowl interview, the practice quickly became tradition. It was kept throughout Barack Obama's two terms, from 2009-2016. However, it appears that tradition is coming to an abrupt end, since Trump isn't giving a Super Bowl address this year. Classic.
A White House official told CNN of Trump's decision on Jan. 31, "He is not doing a Super Bowl interview." The NBC network, which broadcasts the Super Bowl, has gone on to confirm the official's statement. The network revealed in late January that their interview requests have, in fact, been turned down by the president. And the day of the game, The Hill reported that the president wouldn't even be watching the show from the White House. Instead, he would be hosting a Super Bowl watching party from the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump accepting the interview request was a long shot, mainly due to his continued criticism of NBC and other "fake news" outlets, as he refers to them, but the network still pushed to make it happen. In order to sway the president, the network reportedly tried to convince Trump that the interview would benefit him due to the huge audience the Super Bowl attracts, according to CNN. However, the plug apparently wasn't enough to convince Trump.
So what made Trump decline the interview request?
It's definitely not because he hates being on television. During last year's Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2017, which was televised by FOX, Trump invited the network's journalist Bill O'Reilly to the White House to conduct a prerecorded interview.
The 2017 NFL protests might also have something to do with Trump skipping out on the football game this year. He's been very open about his disdain for football players taking a knee during the national anthem, calling it "disrespectful." During a Huntsville, Alabama, rally on Sep. 22, 2017, Trump went on a full rampage about the protests.
Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired! You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it but they’ll be the most popular person in this country.
He then went on to blast the NFL for "low ratings" and attributed them to the sport becoming "soft." He continued to encourage fans to exit the stadium as soon as these protests began.
The NFL ratings are down massively. Now the number one reason happens to be they like watching what’s happening with yours truly. They like what’s happening. Because you know today if you hit too hard: 15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They’re ruining the game! That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game. But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium.
He also tweeted about the NFL on Sept. 24, doubling down by saying, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"
Well, Trump, the NFL isn't the biggest fan of you either.
In response to Trump's comments in Huntsville, many players and members of the administration addressed and condemned his words. In the weeks following, players from teams across the league took a knee in protest, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement to The Guardian, where he shared his thoughts on Trump's speech, and called his comments "divisive."
The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.
Gauging from reports, I guess we won't be seeing any speeches coming our way this Super Bowl.