Subject: ESPN survey shows Americans interested, divided on NFL protests
ESPN survey shows Americans interested, divided on NFL protests during
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see citation for details.)
One week after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players for
protesting during the national anthem, Americans say they are paying
close attention to the story and are divided in their attitudes about
The results come from a nationwide online survey of 1,055 adults 18 and
older conducted by Global Strategy Group for ESPN. The sampling is
representative of country demographics including gender, race,
geographic location and political affiliation. The survey included both
sports fans and non-sports fans and was conducted from Sept. 26-28. The
margin of error for a survey of this sample size is plus or minus 3 percent.
Asked if they approve or disapprove of the recent NFL player protests,
51 percent said they either somewhat or strongly disapprove, compared to
39 percent who did approve. When broken down by race, 72 percent of
African-American respondents either strongly approved or somewhat
approved of the protests, while 62 percent of whites either somewhat
disapproved or strongly disapproved.
Survey respondents that identified themselves as avid NFL fans were
split almost evenly on the protests, with 48 percent strongly or
somewhat approving and 47 percent strongly or somewhat disapproving.
People were also split on whether the protests will affect their
interest in the NFL. Among all respondents, 14 percent were more
interested and 40 percent were less interested -- with 43 percent saying
the protests had no impact on their interest. Among avid NFL fans, 48
percent said their interest is not impacted, but 31 percent said they
were less interested in the league because of the protests (19 percent
said they were more interested).
The latest protests by sports figures came after President Trump
criticized NFL players and owners at a political rally Sept. 22 in
Alabama and suggested fans leave stadiums if they see players
protesting. In the survey, 58 percent of respondents disapproved of the
comments, with 36 percent approving. Among avid NFL fans, 64 percent
disapproved and 33 percent approved.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they were following the story
closely. However, 55 percent said the media is focused too much on the
player protests, compared to 29 percent who felt the coverage was right,
and 6 percent who felt there was too little. Among fans who consider
themselves avid NFL fans, 64 percent feel the media is focusing too much
on the story, with 27 percent saying it's just right.
Colin Kaepernick, who was the first player to protest last season, would
still be in the league if he hadn't protested and spoken up, 53 percent
of respondents said. Only 19 percent disagree, with 29 percent unsure.
The survey showed 59 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans
agree he would be playing, while 67 percent of African-Americans and 50
percent of whites agree.
A slight plurality -- 46 percent to 44 percent -- disagreed with the
statement that athletes should stick to sports and avoid politics on the
By a 10-point margin, Americans are more likely to agree that NFL
players "have a right to express their views and should not be punished
for protesting during the national anthem" (49 percent) than to agree
that players are "crossing a line by protesting during the national
anthem and should be punished if they keep doing it" (39 percent). A
clear majority of avid NFL fans (58 percent) agree that the players
should not be punished, while 34 percent believe they should be punished.