Americans disapprove by nearly 2 to 1 (with many having no opinion) of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's sitdown/kneeldown during the playing of the national anthem in protest of police violence against people of color - but approve of his right to protest by a 4-1 margin, according to a national poll conducted this week by the Seton Hall Sports Poll.
Only 20% feel he should be ordered to stand or dropped from the team if he refuses, but 80% support his right to protest. Of those 80%, 47% say they believe he is wrong for not standing and 33% find the method of protest to be acceptable.
There was a strong effect by age with disapproval rising markedly by age - 25% of 18-29 years olds disapproving, 44% among 30-44, 53% among 45-60 and 60% among those over 60.
The poll was conducted among 875 adults on both landlines and cellphones across the nation. (There is a margin of error of +/- 3.4%).
Overall 47% disapprove of Kaepernick's actions, with 27% approving. 22% had no opinion. However African-Americans were just the opposite, approving his actions by more than 2 to 1.
Only 13% said they would support Kaepernick's protest by themselves remaining seated if they were present for one of his games.
Overwhelming Support for Playing of Anthem
As to the playing of the anthem itself, the response was far more supportive, with 80% believing it should be played before sporting events and only 8% saying it shouldn't. Among whites, 82% said it should be played, and among African-Americans, 70% felt it should.
"The act of his protest has been widely publicized but it is surprising that 81% know what the cause is," said Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. "Our poll indicates that people are sensitive to the complexity of the situation and there is clearly no rush to penalize him or drop him."
On a question of the appropriateness of celebrities to use their fame as a platform to protest in general, 52% said it was appropriate and 39% said it was not.
Rick Gentile was interviewed by Seth Everett for a podcast on the poll's findings.
About the Poll:
September 19-21 among 875 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.
Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.