Nearly 4 in 5 U.S. adults say National Football League (NFL) players should stand for the national anthem, according to a new poll.
A strong majority – 77 percent – said NFL players should remain standing during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in The Harris Poll released Tuesday.
Fifty-nine percent say that there should be a rule requiring NFL players to stand during the song.
Sixty-four percent said controversy over the NFL’s ongoing anthem protests has not impacted how much football they are watching.
Twenty-eight percent, however, said they are watching less football due to the recurring demonstrations.
The poll – which was first reported on by The Hill – also discovered that 60 percent disapprove of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the situation.
Fifty-five percent say Goodell’s response has made both sides of the debate unhappy, and the commission currently has a 50 percent approval rating.
Sixty-six percent said that Goodell does not need to resign over the protests, which have repeatedly boiled up during this NFL season.
“It is nearly unheard of to have a commissioner of a national sports league be this divisive,” said Harris Poll chairman Mark Penn.
“The data shows the league clearly has a lot of work to do to rebuild its relationship with the country and its most loyal fans.”
The NFL has been gripped with recurring protests during the anthem since President Trump derided the practice in September.
Trump called on the NFL to fire those who kneel during the song, arguing it is unpatriotic and disrespects America’s military forces.
Scores of NFL employees have nonetheless performed the controversial gesture since then, prompting fierce national debate over the matter.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest America’s racial injustice and police brutality.
The latest Harris Poll of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted between Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. It has a 3 percent margin of error.
We asked veterans how they really feel about the NFL anthem protests.