Jun 11, 2020 - Sports

Poll: Majority of Americans now support NFL players' right to kneel

Protesters carrying Kaepernick sign
Protesters in New York carrying a Colin Kaepernick sign. Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

For the first time, a majority of Americans support NFL players kneeling in protest of racial inequality, according to the results of a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Thursday.

Why it matters: Public sentiment had been rooted firmly in opposition to kneeling during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016. But in the wake of nationwide protests supporting Black Lives Matter, the tide has shifted in the other direction.

The backdrop: In 2016, only 28% of Americans considered Kaepernick's actions "appropriate." In 2018 — when President Trump attacked players on Twitter for kneeling — that number rose to 35%.

By the numbers: The poll, which ran June 9–10, asked if it's "OK for NFL players to kneel during the national anthem to protest police killings of African Americans?” Just 36% of respondents disapproved.

  • Male (52%) and female (52%) respondents deemed this form of protest appropriate, with the younger respondents (18–29) leading the charge at 68%.
  • 77% of self-described Democrats agreed, in contrast to 20% of Republicans and 20% of Trump voters.
  • 77% of black people, 57% of Hispanics and 47% of white people answered in the affirmative.

Methodology, per Yahoo: "The poll of 1,570 Americans was conducted June 9 and 10 and covered a range of topics, including police brutality, racial injustice and presidential evaluation."

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