The NFL has chosen to listen only to those fans who believe protesting during the national anthem isn’t patriotic. Plenty of fans, inexplicably ignored by the NFL, disagree.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 58 percent of American voters believe NFL players who protest during the anthem are not unpatriotic. Another 35 percent of American voters believe that they are.
On a separate question, American voters also believe by a 53-43 margin that professional athletes have to right to protest while at work.
That said, deep divisions exist based on party and racial lines.
For example, Democrats support the right to protest via an 82-16 margin. Republicans say there is no right to protest, by a nearly identical split of 81-16.
African-American voters support the right to protest, 85-11. Hispanic voters agree, with a 67-28 margin. White voters believe players don’t have the right to protest, via a narrower gap of 53-43.
And while all American voters support the NFL’s new anthem policy (51-42), all American voters oppose fining teams if players on the field fail to stand for the anthem, by a 51-44 margin.
None of this is surprising, but it underscores the fact that the NFL, for whatever reason, has opted to listen to only one side, with Steelers owner Art Rooney recently claiming that the “vast majority of our fans” oppose players protesting during the anthem.
The NFL’s own secret research contradicted this, and the new Quinnipiac poll does, too. And if the NFL plans to continue to heed only one segment of the fan base while ignoring those who feel differently, those fans eventually may vote with their eyes, ears, and wallets.