A THIRD OF MEN SAY NFL LESS ENJOYABLE WITH NEW SAFETY RULES
An overwhelming majority of Americans who consider themselves sports
fans support the 211-game ban on Alex Rodriguez for steroid use - with
about half of them saying he should be banned for life.
A Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week, while the Rodriguez
appeal before an arbitration panel is being heard, found that 37% want
the ban upheld, and an additional 35% would favor having him banned for
life. The poll has a 4% margin of error for the 668 respondents who
said they followed sports, very closely, closely or not closely. (An
additional 279 people who said they did not follow sports participated
with additional questions, with a +/- margin of error of 3%.)
The poll was based on random phone calls to landlines and cellphones across the United States.
Although the arbitration hearing calls attention to the steroid
problems baseball has dealt with over the last two decades, the legacy
of Commissioner Bud Selig appears to be a strong one, as he prepares for
what he has said will be his final year in office. 57% of sports fans
said he would enjoy a positive or extremely positive legacy, with only
20% saying it would be negative or extremely negative. 24% said they
did not know or had no answer.
"It would appear that the continuing appeal of the game under his
reign - in attendance, marketing, expanded playoffs, popular new
ballparks and more, will override the steroid issue in people’s minds,”
noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The
Sharkey Institute. “Of course, responses could also be influenced by
his battling the very unpopular Rodriguez on the steroid issue."
The poll also asked people about changes in NFL rules intended to
reduce injuries. Asked if the changes were right, 18% said they were "too much," 37% said they were the "right amount," and 24% said they
were "not enough." But there was a more noticeable shift when broken
down between men and women. 27% of men said the rules were “too much,”
and only 8% of women agreed. Asked if the attempts to reduce injuries
have made the game more or less enjoyable, or had no effect, 14% said
more enjoyable, 22% said less, and 52% said it had no effect. However,
31% of men said the game was less enjoyable.
"That's a big percentage - nearly a third of men finding the NFL less
enjoyable," said Gentile. "It's a statistic the NFL will want to pay
All 947 participants were asked for favorable/unfavorable reactions
to select athletes in the news. Peyton Manning had a 64% favorable
reaction, and his brother Eli had 58%. Tim Tebow had a 46% response.
Mariano Rivera had a 38% response. Alex Rodriguez had only a 16%
favorable reaction compared to 41% unfavorable.
The poll also asked if the respondent knew where this year's Super
Bowl was being played, and 79% did not know that it was in New
Jersey/New York. 77% could not name last year’s city (New Orleans).
61% said that professional sports teams improve the image of their city.
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