HBO/Marist Poll Finds Country Divided on Anthem Kneelers

About half of those polled in a new HBO/Marist survey say professional athletes should not be required to stand for the National Anthem.

In a protest of police treatment of unarmed black men, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched the protest, which spread throughout the league and led to President Trump tweeting his displeasure with anyone not standing for the anthem, which he equated with not standing for the country.

A majority (68%) said the President was wrong to criticize or call for the firing of players who took a knee.

According to the poll 51% say players should not have to stand. But the country is about split, with 47% saying they should have to stand. About the same percentage (52%) said they thought the players were doing the right thing by protesting, while 41% said they were not.

The overwhelming majority of African American respondents (76%) said they should not have to stand, while 54% of white respondents said they should stay on their feet.

The survey was conducted by phone Oct. 15-17 of 1,093 adults (712 of them self-described football fans) by Marist Poll and funded by HBO Real Sports. The margin of error was 3 percentage points, plus or minus.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.