The majority of Americans—84 percent—support National Football League players' right to protest, according to a new survey conducted by the Seton Hall Sports Poll. Of those, 35 percent said that kneeling during the national anthem was an appropriate form of protest, but 49 percent said that players should find another way to express their opinions.
President Donald Trump incited NFL owners, players, and fans last week when he said that owners should fire any "son of a bitch" who chooses to protest during the anthem. Most Americans disagree. Just 16 percent of all those surveyed said that players who don't stand during the national anthem should be fired. When asked specifically about Trump's comments, only 32 percent of whites agreed with the president, and just 6 percent of blacks agreed with his comments.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell condemned Trump's comments as well. "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," he said in a statement.
A Reuters poll from earlier this week showed that Americans' position on the NFL protests splits along party lines: Eighty-two percent of Democrats disagreed with Trump's comments, while only 29 percent of Republicans disagreed with the president.