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Trump, NFL dispute whether league asked debates to be moved

Donald Trump Holds Town Hall In Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JULY 29: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts to the cries of three-month-old Kellen Campbell, of Denver, right, while holding six-month-old Evelyn Keane, of Castel Rock, Colo., after Trump’s speech at the Gallogly Event Center on the campus of the University of Colorado on July 29, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)

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Politics and football have combined to create a bit of a hot potato.

Two of the three upcoming presidential debates conflict with prime-time NFL games. One of the candidates for the highest office in the land claims that the league has requested a rescheduling of the debates. The NFL has denied it.

In an interview with This Week on ABC, Trump expressed concern about the schedule -- and he said the NFL has expressed concern, too.

“Well, I’ll tell you what I don’t like,” Trump said. “It’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against’ -- ‘cause the NFL doesn’t wanna go against the debates. ‘Cause the debates are gonna be pretty massive, from what I understand, OK?”

The NFL says no such letter was sent.

“While we’d obviously wish the Debate Commission could find another night, we did not send a letter to Mr Trump,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Twitter.

The September 26 Monday night game between the Falcons and Saints conflicts with one of the debates. A Sunday night game on October 9 involving the Packers and Giants conflicts with the other debate.

“I don’t know how the dates were picked,” Trump said. “I don’t know why those particular dates.”

Trump likely assumes that his supporters will be more inclined to opt for football than his opponent’s supporters, based on the broad, general belief that football draws more fans of a conservative mindset than liberal/progressive types. And the NFL likely would prefer not to be competing against the debates.

Unlike the debate that emerged two weeks ago regarding HBO’s Ballers, when executive producer Mark Wahlberg claimed Commissioner Roger Goodell called and tried to kill the show, the NFL allegedly reduced its concerns about the debates to writing and sent them to Trump.

So this one should be easy to prove. Trump simply needs to produce the piece of paper. That should be easy to do, right?

Of course, if Trump does indeed produce the piece of paper, there’s always a chance that someone will express skepticism about its authenticity. Perhaps by saying something like, “He came up with this thing, all of a sudden, miraculously.”