Majority Of Americans Disagree With Trump On N.F.L. Anthem Protests
Donald Trump has apparently made the American public more supportive of players who kneel for the National Anthem.
A new poll indicates that the general public is turning against Donald Trump’s position regarding the National Anthem protests at National League Football games:
The poll, conducted Oct. 15-17 by HBO Real Sports and Marist College, found that an increasing number of Americans believe that professional sports leagues should not require athletes to stand during the national anthem. In this October poll, 51 percent said that standing should not be required. In a September 2016 poll by HBO and Marist, only 43 percent said this.
The shift is particularly sharp among Democrats, whose opposition to requiring athletes to stand has increased by 13 points. Meanwhile, Republican opposition has declined. Self-described independents look more like Democrats: Their opposition to requiring athletes to stand has increased from 47 percent to 54 percent.
If you know your political science, this is an entirely predictable finding. When presidents take visible positions on issues, it naturally polarizes public opinion. As citizens, we routinely take cues from political leaders in our party — or react against leaders in the opposite party.
Repeatedly during Trump’s presidential campaign and presidency, the net effect of this polarization has been to move overall opinion against his views. During the campaign, for example, Americans’ opinions of Muslims became more favorable. Support for a border wall with Mexico decreased.
Indeed, in this new HBO-Marist poll, 68 percent of respondents, and 41 percent of Republicans, said that Trump did the “wrong thing” in criticizing the athletes who have knelt during the anthem. Only 41 percent said the athletes themselves were doing the wrong thing.
This chart shows the extent to which public opinion on the issue has changed in just a year:
The National Anthem protests started with former San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, of course, said last season that he was engaging in the silent protest to bring attention to issues relating to police abuse and the disproportionate use of force against African-American men, an issue that had gained national attention beginning with the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darrin Wilson in August of 2014. That incident, as well as others, has spawned nationwide protests by groups such as Black Lives Matter and other groups. It was Kaepernick’s protest, though, that seemed to gain the most attention and arose the most controversy, with many seeing it as being disrespectful to the flag and to the nation while others have argued that it is a legitimate and entirely respectful form of protest.
To a large degree, the controversy over Kaepernick’s protest died off as the season progressed last year, and seemed to be mostly over after the 49ers decided to release him. Since then, Kaepernick has not been signed by any other team in the league and there have been some who have suggested that he’s being passed over in no small part due to the controversy that the protest that he began had generated during the previous season. Whether that was true or not remains unclear, though, since there’s also a case to be made the Kaepernick’s performance had declined in recent years and that, much like Tim Tebow before him, few teams were interested in taking on the potential controversy that would come with signing someone who at least initially would be a backup Quarterback at best.
All of that changed a month ago when the President decided to resurrect the issue of players standing or not standing for the National Anthem during a speech in Alabama where he referred to the protesting players as “sons of bitches.” In the wake of that speech, and notwithstanding the fact that Colin Kaepernick, the issue was resurrected and players reacted to it beginning with the first games of the season when more players than ever before kneeled or engaged in some other silent show of solidarity, in many cases joined by team owners who spoke out in favor of their players. As the controversy continued, Trump seemingly egged it on by continuing to attack the players via his Twitter feed and calling for the league to fire players who are not standing for the Anthem. Most recently, the issue came back into public view at the beginning of this month when Vice-President Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game when several of members of the opposing team chose to kneel during the anthem. In the meantime, the N.F.L. itself announced last week that it would not follow Trump’s lead and would not require players to stand during the Anthem. Additionally, a poll that was taken after Trump’s Alabama speech also showed that a majority of Americans disagreed with Trump’s position that players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem should be fired or otherwise disciplined. As noted, this was a marked change from the polling last season, which showed the public more supportive of the idea that players should be required to stand during the National Anthem.
As the article above notes, there’s only one thing that has changed in the time between the initial protests and the new polling showing that the public has changed its mind significantly on this issue. Donald Trump became President and, shortly after the new season started last month, began to resurrect the issue as part of his never-ending appeal to the culture war issues that resonate with his base. To some degree, it seems clear that part of the reason for this change in position is likely the fact that Trump has become the face of the issue rather than Colin Kaepernick or any of the players and that voters, who already view the President negatively according to opinion polls dating back to the beginning of his Presidency, are reacting as much to that fact as they are to the issue itself. This is one of the concrete ways that Trump’s negative job approval and favorability, most recently reflected in a new Fox News Poll, can have an impact in the real world. It’s a phenomenon that also seems to have played a role in forming public opinion on issues such as health care reform and other issues that Trump hs championed, and one that Republicans who are remaining silent about Trump’s Presidency because they want to focus on their legislative agenda would do well to take note of. In the long run, it may turn out that using the President to push that agenda could end up backfiring them simply because he’s the one advocating the idea, and that could have real implications at the ballot box in 2018 and beyond.
I’m shocked that more Americans would prefer freedom of expression over authoritarianism.
People who actually support the Constitution seem to be outliers today.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
I agree. And unfortunately when the Left should be waving the constitution our alleged intelligentsia is no longer committed to the first amendment. The Left is fighting the last war not the current one.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
Except the Republicans. Their line goes the other way.
It has been my experience that non-political people –as in, people who don’t know the difference between left and right– agree with Trump on this one.
@James Pearce: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
@Gromitt Gunn: Sure, dude, it confirmed my worst fears.
Trump would, I suspect, be quite happy with this. It’s further dividing the nation and hardening support from his base. He (or whoever is actually doing his political policy) sees this in Rovian terms, it’s OK if he only has 40% if they’ll turn out. He may be right.
who don’t know the difference between
left andright & wrong
You want to be forced to stand for an anthem, move to N. Korea.
Many fans have left and more are leaving the NFL. Attendance and viewer numbers are down. More than one reason: over exposure, long games, late start times, and the peculiar behaviors of the over paid players, on and off the field. Most people do not turn on sports to see some sort of political or social message. If I want to see a social statement program I watch WWE or “Gotham”.
Now I am catching some NASCAR before the season comes to an end, even with look alike cars and the lack of big names. No kneeling during the anthem there.
@Tyrell: “Attendance and viewer numbers are down. More than one reason . . . ”
Not to mention the evidence about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in football players that’s turned some away from the game.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
No, as in non-ideological types who don’t normally engage in politics being taken in by Trump’s populism while us political types bicker about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
This started as an attempt to call attention to a particular problem. I always thought it was a little dumb –personal opinion– to kneel during a song if want you really wanted to do was reduce police violence, but hey, it’s already been established that I’m a bad liberal.
Now that it’s become an opportunity for Trump to expand his base beyond the knuckle-dragging deplorables who voted for him –they’re all still with him, remember– and get people who don’t follow politics at all to take his side.
I don’t think anyone should be made to stand. I stand but forced patriotism is not patriotism.
That having been said, I’m beginning to wonder if the controversy over this is distracting from the issue Kaepernick wanted to raise. That, of course, was Trump’s intention — make it about patriotism instead of police violence. But it’s looking increasingly like he succeeded in that.
Because as we all know, any method of protest that makes politically-indifferent white guys even mildly uncomfortable is going to drive them into Trump’s waiting arms. Only protests that take place in white-approved locations using white-approved methods are appropriate.
The first political comment I heard from some people was about this protest. They weren’t concerned about what it was about or who was doing it.
They tuned out when they perceived it to be anti-patriotic.
It’s a shame more people don’t consider police abuse/shootings to be anti-patriotic…
@James Pearce: What did you do with that opportunity?
@James Pearce: Funny the non political people I know don’t care either way about the NFL kneeling thing.
The only people I know who care are white, rural and only believe the stuff they want to believe. For example everything Democratic = evil everything Republican = GOOD! always. I’ve had straight up religious people try to argue that kneeling is somehow a total sign of disrespect when not that many years ago they were crowing about how much Tebow loved and respected god with his kneeling..When I point this out they change the subject (in person) or never respond (social media). Then a few weeks later they post online another picture about how evil and disrespectful those people are in the NFL who are kneeling.Every-time a Democrat does something to help these people they always give credit to the Republicans and when the Republicans do something to hurt these people it’s ALWAYS those evil Democrat’s fault. They “tuned out” when fox news and other right wing pipes told them their position.
It’s frustrating because some of these people are much smarter than this. But because their pastor said so or their parents told them so when they were growing up they just kind of checked their brain out when it comes to politics. One of my friends used to be fairly liberal but ever since she “found” Jesus her views have swerved hard off to the right. Giving church’s non profit status is really biting us in the ass as a country.
Funny how no one ever actually clearly states what this kneeling is all about, as explained by the person who started it, right after the game where he started it.
What does that statement imply about those who fought for that country? And it clearly implies that cops are murderers with official support after the fact.
In any case, the only poll that matters is the attendance and viewing numbers. Papa John’s has reported lower sales during the games and they are an “official NFL sponsor”. Maybe all the fans went on a health kick?
@An Interested Party:
There’s an opening for getting more people to consider police abuse to be anti-patriotic. It will require a more accurate view of what’s driving the shootings, though.
What can I do? Tell them they’re all privileged white racists?
Well, even if my account can’t be believed, let me assure you, these are not the only people who care.
That we fought for an imperfect country that hasn’t lived up to the lofty ideals of its founding documents, but still protects the right to make political statements.
I’m a veteran who’s sick and tired of right-wing fools using me as an excuse not to listen.
You could tell them the truth about the protests. That’s what I do. Let them decide what to do with it.
That they should weep, that the freedoms they fought for are being systematically denied to so many Americans?
“Implies”? No, it states it bluntly. And it’s true. Not of all cops, of course, but of cops as a group. If you haven’t realized this yet, you aren’t paying attention.
Or are you going to explain to me how every action by the police in the Tamir Rice case was perfectly justified, and acquittal was correct?
@Lynn: I agree. And it seeme a lot of serious injuries have occurred this season.
From a personal conversation with a close friend who was in law enforcement for 20+ years, I can tell you, all cops take that sentiment as a personal insult. He and I long ago stopped trying to discuss any police action as philosophical discussions just didn’t work.
As for veterans, many seem to have taken offense. I was thinking of a story I read of an older veteran who got upset at a waitress who was wearing NFL fan paraphernalia. Seemed extreme, but I can see where his emotion came from.
Others who take offense should do so on their own and not worry about veterans, who can take care of themselves. These jerks are bringing politics into a place that used to be a brief respite from the workaday world and the NFL spent a lot of time and money trying to tie themselves to patriotism. So people who don’t like that, should turn off the games, take out their anger on NFL sponsors or whatever. Others can still go to the games and buy official NFL pizza.
All in all, Trump did the NFL a favor with his comment. If you look at the news that week, the proven, foreseeable high incidence of brain damage was becoming the cause celeb. It still will. I expect to see laws banning those under 18, or maybe 26 given Obamacare age of maturity, from playing full contact football in the next couple years. Then the NFL has a real problem.
@James Pearce: I’m entirely willing to believe you. We clearly live in vastly different areas and we have vastly different backgrounds. I grew up in a bible thumping bible camp every summer WHITE rural farming area in Illinois. You know the same white rural areas you keep saying that the Democrats are supposed to win over with unicorns and magic. I made my escape over 8 years ago and I haven’t looked back. There are good people mostly trapped in my hometown but they are hardcore Republican voters as described above. Illinois would be a red state if not for Chicago. The few that don’t rant and rave about those evil godless Liberals don’t care about the NFL thing. Where I live now I have found that the majority don’t give a crap. I interact with hundreds of strangers a week here and inevitably such discussions occur. People are too worried about family things or just daily life stuff to care.
@Matt: I see and hear many people around here who are furious and fed up with it. One person gave his season tickets away and said he was through. These people are not some racist extremists. Many watched the games as a sort of getting away from all the politics and social agendas that are on all the news. After a week of hard work they like to enjoy their weekends and sports games without some political propaganda. These are patriotic people who support this country, the flag, and anthem.
The NFL will continue to lose viewers and people in the stadiums as long as they tolerate this. Some owners are not putting up with it. Other sports leagues aren’t allowing it.
I work literally down the street from a NFL stadium. There’s already people in the lot tailgating and it’s barely 9am on a Friday. Traffic is impossible on game days. I call BS; oh they’ll *say* they’re boycotting when asked but that game is on, fantasy football’s still going strong and somehow everyone still knows all the scores despite the “boycott”.
People who cannot admit that their in-group will have bad apples are a serious part of the problem. A cop that can’t admit that dirty cops exists and are a disgrace to the badge ain’t exactly clean themselves. Every workplace has one and the police are no different. Enablers have no place in a functioning system.
We could end all this and restore public trust in our institutions if they took seriously the fact that there seems to be a real problem with hiring and retaining jerks. I understand brotherhood and the thin blue line but man, at what point to you admit your brother’s kind of a jagoff? At what point do you admit that when protecting and defending said jagoff, you’re turning into one as well?
Nobody is protesting “good cops” or cops in general. They are protesting the bad ones and those who would look the other way. If that pisses you off, it’s probably because you fall into the latter group and are feeling “attacked”. It literally has nothing to do with veterans other then Trump yelling “shiny!” as a distraction and y’all falling for it.
The NFL–and football–have been in trouble for a while. Declining numbers watching and attending the games, and fewer kids taking up the sport in school. Attributing the recent attention to the gradual and steady decline would be a mistake.
Sports Illustrated, Nov. 2015: https://www.si.com/mmqb/2015/11/23/high-schools-dropping-and-adding-football-safety-concerns
An article from 2014, noting the decline goes back to 2008: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/fewer-kids-are-playing-football-but-mark-cuban-might-be-wrong-about-why/
This post mentions the protests last year, but as one of many factors, including the domestic violence issues, and more: http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/21/5-reasons-football-fans-losing-interest-nfl-games/
So for weeks you’ve been saying this is an issue that will boost support for Trump. Then a poll comes out that shows, well, you were quite wrong.
And your response is to say that the poll is simply polling the wrong people. The people you know–which must be representative of real Americans–don’t feel this way, so clearly the poll is just incorrect.
And then you follow this line of thought by stating that this is actually causing Trump’s base to expand. Even when, again, data in front of us shows the exact opposite.
Tell us again why we should take your thoughts on this seriously? An argument of “I’m right, and if the data shows I’m wrong, the data is wrong” isn’t very compelling.
NASCAR attendance is down 30% this year and TV viewership is down 15%.
Sure, turning to a sport where all the excitement is at the beginning.
The truth about the protests is that they didn’t work, and why they didn’t work is obvious in retrospect: You cannot reduce police violence by kneeling during the anthem.
But you can make some people mad.
The protests are just ripping fans out of habit.
I see it like a friend who came home to a wife wanting a divorce. Before the divorce was final, she wanted to reconcile, but as he told me, he had realized just how miserable he had been so chose not to.
Similarly, when a company starts layoffs, they lose a lot of people they were hoping to keep because the disruption causes people to shake off complacency and some often find they’d rather have a change.
The poll says sports leagues shouldn’t require people to stand. Is that the issue the protesters wanted to highlight?
Maybe I’m a little dim, but it neither says nor implies anything about them.
If you are really determined to stretch for something, it says the country is imperfect. So according to you, anytime you say anything negative about our country (whether it’s too isolationist, too interventionist, too socialist, too plutocratic, etc.), I guess you think we’re insulting the military because they’re protecting that negative aspect.
That’s an “interesting” way to think about things.
Ah, I see. You read the headline of this blog post about an article that links to the poll, and you thought that was the entire poll.
To reiterate, for weeks you were incessantly on here saying these protests were only helping Trump. (You also liked to state that something something libruls something this won’t defeat Trump, but all of us have stopped trying to figure out your need to fight strawmen.)
Instead, the opposite is happening.
Yes, of the many things this poll polled, it did include metrics on whether or not people think players should be forced to stand. So, did you just not take the time to read the whole article, because you were too busy crowing, or are you just being dishonest in focusing on this one aspect?
@Neil Hudelson: What does any of that have to do with police violence?
@James Pearce: I’ve wondered why you seem so intransigent when it comes to issues of racial inequality, and I’ve come to one basic conclusion: You simply don’t want to understand.
Black men sitting at the whites-only lunch counter made some people mad.
What does police violence have to do with your incorrect contention that this was a winning issue for trump? A contention you repeated here up thread, and a contention I’ve been clearly addressing in each of my comments?
Here’s a summary:
James Pearce: everyone needs to shut up about this because it’s actually helping trump.
Polls: This issue is hurting Trump.
James Pearce: the people I know think this is helping trump so I’m right.
Neil: anecdote doesn’t trounce data.
James Pearce: this hasn’t stopped police violence. Therefore my argument (that this is helping trump) is correct.
Do you really think you are being effective in your debate tactics?
If you haven’t noticed, no one–no one–has claimed these protests will stop police violence. The only person claiming that is you when you set up your straw man. I’ll go a step farther and say that MLK’s “dream” speech didn’t win civil rights. By your logic, unless someone’s actions will immediately and directly result in a drastic shift in government policy, they should just shut the fnck up.
Your inane comments that arise from your anger at reading headlines won’t stop those headlines from appearing. By your own logic shouldn’t you just stop commenting?
Actually, my devotion to true racial equality is responsible for my intransigence.
That, and a belief that we’re leaning a little too hard on activism to solve social problems, when we might be better off also using applied science and/or enterprise.
Colin Kaepernick is out of football and Donald Trump is in the White House and the only thing progressives can say about police violence is “We get it more than you!”
How is it not a winning issue for Trump?
So your response is argle bargle?
@Neil Hudelson: Who has the spoils, Neil?
@James Pearce: When Mr. Jones talks, people listen”
Cowboys release Damontre Moore.
@Tyrell: The Cowboys are denying his release has anything to do with his protest, and I tend to believe them. The NFL has been pretty tolerant of the protests. Political pressure from the POTUS is what made them squeamish.
But it didn’t fix all of racism within a year, which seems to be JP’s criterion for whether something is helping or not.
Wow, that sounds like you finally have some genuinely concrete recommendations for an actual approach that might be more effective than mere activism.
I mean, you wouldn’t say that if you didn’t have SOME idea.
Buckle up or knuckle up, Dave, those are your options.
“The Resistance” has already put their hands in their pockets. You think Nancy Pelosi and Chuck “He Likes Me” Schumer are going to stand up to Trump? Not without Republican help.
“Applied science and/or enterprise” never happen without activism. Activism has always preceded action. It must, because activism is the only thing available to those for whom the action is vital. Movement toward black equality didn’t just spring up sui generis, it came about because blacks in Montgomery wouldn’t give up their seats to whites (a protest which took a full year to bring the action of bus desegregation). It came about because black men sat at whites-only lunch counters, but that was five years after Rosa Parks wouldn’t stand up, and they sat at those counters for almost six months, and it still took another four years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated desegregation in public accommodations.
That’s nine years (1955-1964) from point A to point B, and it was anything but a straight and steady line.
“Applied science and/or enterprise.” My goodness…if only it were so easy.
Which of those counts as “applied science” or “enterprise”? I’m not up on this new lingo.
I’m ready to do what needs to be done, just as soon as you tell me what that is, beyond vacuous slogans. I won’t hold my breath.