The NFL is denying claims they contacted Donald Trump to complain about upcoming scheduling conflicts, ones that will pit the debates against Monday Night Football.
In both a sit-down interview and on social media, Republican candidate Trump said he didn’t favor both events dividing TV viewers on the same night, and went as far as saying Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind the move.
“As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!” Trump wrote.
Prior to the tweet, in conversation with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump said the football league wrote to him in distress over the potential competition.
“I’ll tell you what I don’t like. It’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous,'” Trump said on air. The NFL, however, said his claim is out-of-bounds.
“While we would obviously wish the Debate Commission could find another night, we did not send a letter to Mr. Trump,” a NFL spokesperson told TheWrap via email.
The first presidential debate is scheduled for Monday, September 26. A vice presidential go-round will air the following Tuesday, October 4, followed by two additional Trump-Clinton showdowns — on Sunday, October 9 (another football game) and finally Wednesday, October 19.
Pinning it on Hillary is problematic, as USA Today’s For The Win column points out. These dates were chosen in September 2015 by the Commission on Presidential Debates.