Poll Shows 52% of Americans Support NFL Players' Right to Kneel, Up 24% From Similar 2016 Poll


One of the major takeaways from many of the statements made regarding recent protests and demonstrations is that it's important that there is actually some sort of progress, some unit of change that comes as a result.

It appears that the most recent wave of protests, sparked by the atrocious killing of George Floyd and provoked by years of systemic racism and oppression, has done just that. It's what Anthony Lynn and countless other NFL figures hoped for, with Lynn saying that he doesn't want people to protest because it's the right thing to do, but because they genuinely want to see change. It's what Colin Kaepernick hoped for when he took a knee for the first time during the 2016 NFL preseason.

According to a poll conducted by Yahoo! News and YouGov, the majority of Americans surveyed (52%) now say that it's "OK for NFL players to kneel during the national anthem to protest police killings of African Americans." That's the exact wording of the question that garnered a majority positive response, which is interesting when contrasted with another question.

Yahoo! News/YouGov additionally asked whether respondents "support(ed) or oppose(d) Colin Kaepernick when he protested racial injustice by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem starting in 2016," and 42% of participants responded with yes. However, previous data shows that in 2016, only 28% of voters found Kaepernick's actions "appropriate", and that figure only increased by 7% in 2018.

Immediately, I wonder if the results of the 2020 survey regarding a player's right to kneel would be different if the question excluded "...to protest police killings of African Americans." Drew Brees comes to mind as one example of a notable figure who admitted his ignorance to the above rationale for kneeling. He stated that he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America" before rescinding parts of his statement, realizing that it wasn't about disrespecting the military but about fighting for deserved equality and justice.

An interesting finding in the results had to do with differences in the responses by age group. Jay Busbee, who wrote the article on the findings, points out that respondents in the 18-29 age group said yes far more often (68%) than those over 65 (36%). There is also a discrepancy in the results by political party, as 77% of democrats answered with a strong yes, while only 20% of republicans did the same. Still, it's surprising the 20% of "self-described Trump voters" voted yes, as Trump himself has stated that he doesn't agree with the act of kneeling.

You can compare the findings of this year's poll to the results of the 2016 polls regarding Kaepernick's actions, reported in full here.

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