In general, Americans have shifted in what they think about the national anthem protests, according to an HBO Real Sports/Marist College poll.
According to the poll, 51% of the country believes professional sports leagues should not require their players to stand for the national anthem and 47% believe they should. When this same poll was taken in September 2016, the results were reversed: 52% said they should be forced to stand and 43% said they should not.
During that time, President Donald Trump has demanded the NFL force its players to stand and fire any player who refuses to do so. Following former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's lead last season, hundreds of NFL players have followed suit this season — either kneeling or raising a fist or embracing other players who choose to protest during The Star-Spangled Banner.
The controversy blossomed. At meetings in New York last week, commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated that players should stand, however they will not be punished if they don't.
Responders were broken down by region of the country and race, and that was telling:
- People who lived in the West of the country were 58%-40% against making players stand;
- The Northeast was 52%-46% against;
- The South was 50%-48% for making players stand;
- The Midwest was 50%-47% for making players stand.
- White responders were 54%-44% for making players stand; black responders were 76%-14% against; and Latino responders were 56%-43% against.
Education and age also were interesting numbers.
- White responders who had no college education were 62%-35% for making players stand and white responders with a college education were 59%-40% against.
- Non-white responders with no college education were 62%-35% against and non-white responders with a college education were 65%-34% against.
- Ages 18-29 were 70%-29% against making players stand; ages 30-44 were 57%-42% against; ages 45-59 were 55%-42% for making players stand; and ages 60 and older were 58%-38% for standing.
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