NBC sports announcer Al Michaels blamed Trump stoking tensions in the “take a knee” nonsense plaguing the NFL.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michales said he believed the kneeling controversy was simmering down until Trump weighed in, “once the president made those remarks in Alabama, at that particular point it was like throwing a match into a gas tank.”

Trump had also tweeted:

From the Inquirer:

“It’s number one and it’s getting bashed because the ratings are down,” Michaels said. “Two or three years ago, the ratings were so spectacular that there had to be a little bit of a diminishment at some point.”

Michaels said it felt like tension over the protests was starting cooling down, until President Trump weighed in during a September rally in Huntsville, Ala., where he called on NFL owners to fire players who decided to protest while the national anthem was being played.

“Once the president made those remarks in Alabama, at that particular point it was like throwing a match into a gas tank,” Michaels said. “During the off-season, both sides just have to sit down and figure out a way to make this a situation where it doesn’t overwhelm the conversation about the NFL.”

Michaels neglected, at least during this interview, to discuss other factors that have contributed to the NFL’s dwindling viewership, including the public’s disdain for the politicalization of sports.

The NFL’s brand favorability dropped to its lowest point in brand tracking during the “take a knee” protests, not to mention the numerous surveys which found NFL-watchers opposed to players kneeling during the national anthem.

Even CNN conceded Trump was on the right track here and that NFL owners were in possession of data supporting his statement.

Think what you will of Al Michaels or Trump for that matter, but the evidence simply doesn’t support Michael’s claim here.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye