Poll: 54% of people approve of new NFL kneeling policy

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer

One week after NFL owners stunned many by agreeing on a new policy to fine teams if their players do not stand for the national anthem, a SurveyMonkey poll conducted exclusively for Yahoo Finance finds that a slight majority of adults approve of the policy.

Under the new policy, players can choose to stay in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem, but if they come out on the field they must “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.” 

SurveyMonkey surveyed 1,795 U.S. adults online on May 24 and May 25, and found that 54% “approve” of the new policy. 43% disapprove, and 3% skipped the question. The poll has a margin of error of three percentage points.

In a followup question, the survey phrased approval differently, asking respondents if it is fair or unfair for teams to be fined when players kneel: 55% said it is fair, while 42% said unfair.

A separate question asked, “Do you think that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are patriotic or unpatriotic?” Forty-one percent of people said that kneeling is unpatriotic, but 42% selected, “Kneeling is not related to patriotism.” Only 14% said kneeling is patriotic.

San Francisco 49ers players Eli Harold (57), Eric Reid (35) and Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Houston Texans in Houston on Dec. 10, 2017. (AP/David J. Phillip)

The survey results may be surprising in light of many current NFL players speaking out against the new policy, including Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, and Torrey Smith.

President Trump, on the other hand, commended the new policy, which was seen by many as a response to his public crusade against the kneeling, and Vice President Pence tweeted out the news of the new policy and added, “#Winning.”

The NFL’s new policy was the focus of the May 24 episode of the Yahoo Finance Sportsbook podcast. You can listen here:

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. He hosts the podcast Sportsbook and the video series Business + Coffee. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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