Most Americans are behind the NFL’s new ban on kneeling during the national anthem, according to a SurveyMonkey poll released Wednesday.
Frequent protests by players who chose to kneel during the anthem marred the past two NFL seasons, prompting the league to create a new policy in which all team personnel who are on the sidelines prior to a game must stand during the anthem.
Teams will be fined if anyone violates the policy.
The survey found 54 percent of the American public support the league’s new ban, with 43 percent opposing it.
Among Americans who describe themselves as NFL fans, 56 percent approve the league’s new policy and 42 percent oppose it.
The poll, which features responses from 1,795 American adults, was conducted after the NFL announced its new policy on May 23.
President Donald Trump praised the decision, having long criticized anyone who kneels during the anthem as unpatriotic.
The new policy does allow players to stay in locker rooms during the anthem, however.
“I think that’s good,” Trump said when first told of the new policy during an appearance last week on “Fox & Friends.”
“I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Democrats were far more likely to oppose the ban than the general public, with 65 percent of those identifying as Democrats disapprove of the ban and 62 percent saying kneeling during the anthem has nothing to do with patriotism.
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a prominent Democrat, called for a boycott of the NFL to force a reversal of the policy.
Friends who know me, know that I love football. But I won’t be watching this NFL season because of the unfair cowardly and idiotic kneeling ban. #BoycottNFL
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) May 27, 2018
“Friends who know me, know that I love football,” Ellison tweeted Sunday. “But I won’t be watching this NFL season because of the unfair cowardly and idiotic kneeling ban. #BoycottNFL.”
The SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted May 24-25, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
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