The majority of white Americans believe that profession athletes kneeling in protest during the nation anthem is ‘unacceptable’, a new poll conducted by CBS has determined.
According to the results, 52 percent of white Americans believe it is wrong for an athlete to kneel during The Star-Spangled banner, compared to 48 percent who say the protest is acceptable.
Those findings contrasted dramatically to the opinions of black and Hispanic respondents, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the demonstration at a rate of 88 percent and 62 percent respectively.
In addition to race, the results also indicated divisions along political and generational lines among the 2,008 respondents.
The majority of Americans believe profession athletes kneeling during the national anthem against racial discrimination is an acceptable form of protest
However, CBS’s results still indicated divisions along political, racial and generational lines. Both black and Hispanic American’s believe the protests are acceptable, but white people were more closely split, narrowly siding that it was unacceptable
In total, 58 percent of all respondents said they believed it was acceptable for athletes to take a knee prior to a sporting event.
But CBS said that when separating the respondents into more specific groups – particularly political ideology and race – a division of opinion is still very much evident.
For instance, eighty percent of white Democrats said they found kneeling during the anthem acceptable, while 82 percent of white Republicans said it’s unacceptable.
In more general terms, the trend continues. Removing race as a factor, most Republicans (77%) believe the protest is unacceptable, with most Democrats (88%) opposing that view.
A difference of opinion is also clearly shared across generational divides too. Younger people aged between 18 and 29 are the group mostly likely to deem kneeling during the anthem as acceptable.
But, as the age of the respondent increases, the act is deemed less acceptable, with more than half of people over the age of 65 (57%) stating that it is an unacceptable form of protest.
There’s also a trend between views regarding the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement and opinions regarding the protest during the national anthem.
Most of those who agree with the ideas of Black Lives Matter see kneeling during the national anthem as an acceptable form of protest, while those who disagree find it unacceptable.
In total, 58 percent of respondents said they believed athletes should be able to take a knee prior to a sporting event, compared to 42 percent who said they believed the protest was still unacceptable
CBS’s poll comes as various figures in the sporting world and beyond have voiced conflicting opinions about whether the kneeling protest – first popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (left) in 2016 – should be permitted or encouraged among athletes
Most Republicans (77%) believe the protest is unacceptable, with most Democrats (88%) opposing that view
CBS’s poll comes as various figures in the sporting world and beyond have voiced conflicting opinions about whether the kneeling protest should be permitted or encouraged among athletes.
The protest has long been a point of contention since it was first popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka pulled no punches this week when he was asked about the subject.
‘If it was up to me, I’d say no,’ Ditka, Chairman of the X League responded when asked about kneeling. ‘If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country. That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old- fashioned. So, I’m only going to say what I feel.’
This isn’t the first time Dikta has voiced strong opinions against kneeling. The former Chicago Bears coach was forced to apologize in 2017 after he said ‘there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.’
But the subject has returned to the spotlight in recent months, following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
‘I think there’s a way you protest, and there’s a way you don’t protest,’ Ditka said this week. ‘You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country who has given you the opportunity to make a living, playing a sport, you never thought would happen. So, I don’t want to hear all the crap. You want to try it, try it. You don’t, it’s okay.’
Eighty percent of white Democrats said they found kneeling during the anthem acceptable, while 82 percent of white republicans said it’s unacceptable
Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka (left) said this week that anyone who kneels should ‘get the hell out of our country’. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (right), however, voiced his support for Black Lives Matter movement
Players from the Yankees and Nationals knelt in unison before the opening game of the MLB season last Thursday.
A difference of opinion is also clearly shared across generational divides too. Younger people aged between 18 and 29 are the group mostly likely to deem kneeling during the anthem as acceptable
Dikta’s sentiments were shared by President Trump, who on Tuesday tweeted that kneeling during the national anthem is a ‘sign of great disrespect’.
His comments came just days after he tweeted the game was ‘over’ for him with players from the Yankees and Nationals knelt in unison before the opening game of the MLB season last Thursday.
‘Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!’ Trump tweeted.
Some members of the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays followed suit by kneeling before their game the following night.
With the NBA season set to resume in Orlando tonight, players from the New Orleans Pelicans an Utah Jazz will also reportedly kneel in protest of racism during the national anthem, despite a longstanding league rule against the practice.
‘I respect peaceful protest,’ Silver told ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday. ‘I’m not sure what our players will do when they come out tomorrow night and we’ll of course address it at the time, but I also understand these are highly unusual times.’