According to DirecTV customer service representatives, subscribers who purchased the NFL Sunday Ticket package can cancel the service, and receive a refund, because of the continued protests during the national anthem by many of the players in the league. This move is a break from protocol as cancellations usually must be completed prior to the start of the regular season.
As reported by Time Magazine, some subscribers to the NFL Sunday Ticket package have received refunds even though they canceled their subscription to the add-on service after September 9, the day the NFL regular season began.
Typically, such refunds aren’t allowed by DirecTV, as outlined by the statement on their website which reads: “Any season pass purchases made after Saturday, September 10, 2017 are strictly nonrefundable.”
The additional package costs approximately $300 a season and provides subscribers with access to a higher number of games than they would normally be able to access based on their location.
The sudden change in policy seemingly came after President Donald Trump made comments about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. During a rally for Alabama Senator Luther Strange, Trump stated, “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. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
After the statement, many NFL players responded by kneeling during the national anthem while others locked arms with teammates and some even chose not to exit the locker room until after the national anthem played.
The protests actually began during the 2016-17 NFL season and were said to be tied to racial inequality and police brutality against minorities in the US. Since Trump’s comments, the reasoning behind the protests appears to have expanded. Additionally, more players and even team owners have begun participating, especially when it comes to linking arms as a sign of unity.
Trump has referred to the protests as “disgraceful” and has even encouraged fans to boycott the NFL.
AT&T Inc., which owns DirecTV and is the sole provider of the NFL Sunday Ticket package, has declined to comment on the policy change as of Tuesday.