A majority of Americans – albeit a rather small majority – are OK with NFL players and other athletes “taking a knee” for the national anthem, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
As Yahoo News reports, 58 percent of American voters aren’t put off by the practice that started back in the NFL preseason in 2016, when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously first started “taking a knee.” To be fair, 58 percent isn’t much of a majority, but a majority it is.
The national anthem controversy means different things to different people, of course. To the players, and those who support them, it’s a means of calling attention to social injustice (as Colin Kaepernick stated) in the U.S. To those who oppose their taking a knee (including the president, who famously suggested that “any son of a b***h” who doesn’t stand for the anthem should be fired), it’s tantamount to outright disrespect of America.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the split gets considerably deeper along ideological lines. Among poll respondents who identified as Republicans, 70 percent said that refusing to stand for the national anthem is “un-patriotic.” When Republicans are taken out of the mix, all other races, age groups, and ethnic groups said, via majority responses, that refusing to stand for the national anthem is not “un-patriotic.”
President Trump says he wants to meet with NFL players and athletes who kneel during the National Anthem so they can recommend people they think should be pardoned because they were treated unfairly by the justice system https://t.co/Nh22KkE9sC pic.twitter.com/b2N5MdzxmC— CNN International (@cnni) June 8, 2018
Putting aside the issue of whether or not standing for the anthem is patriotic or otherwise, there’s also the matter that, as the old saying goes, there’s a time and a place for everything. So is calling attention to a social cause during the playing of the national anthem a matter of, shall we say, “bad timing”?
As it turns out, 82 percent of Democrats say no, while 81 percent of Republicans say yes.
And as for the National Football League (NFL), where this whole controversy started (and where, for the most part, it continues to play out, as the number of kneeling players in other sports is so small as to be all but inconsequential), there’s an even newer controversy. In an effort to put the keeling-during-the-national anthem behind them, while still honoring players’ right to protest, the League instituted a new policy: players on the field must stand for the anthem, but they can remain in the locker room if they’d rather not. If they come out onto the field and take a knee, they are fined.
So is that a good policy? According to the newest poll results, it’s an almost 50-50 split. 49 percent support the League fining players for not standing for the anthem, while 51 percent oppose it.