Most Canadians support NFL players’ right to express their political opinions – but not by taking a knee during the national anthem, according to polling by Angus Reid.
The protests started when US quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during a pre-game national anthem last year, to oppose police brutality against black Americans.
Kaepernick was backed by some other NFL players, but his actions were widely seen as extremely controversial in the US and he has gone unsigned this season.
However, the protests have continued, and recently came under fire from Donald Trump, who, speaking at a rally, called the protesting players “sons of bitches.”
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” said Trump.
Last weekend, the first game day after Trump made the controversial comments, more NFL players than ever took a knee during the national anthem.
Some players joined hands instead; even some NFL owners, many who donated millions to Trump’s campaign, stood with those players, linking arms in solidarity.
And according to figures re-released by polling company Angus Reid ahead of this weekend of games, Canadians firmly support the players’ right to protest.
The public opinion research organization asked 1,508 Canadians for their opinions on the protests in an online survey back in February.
Researchers found 57% of respondents backed the right of professional athletes to use their platform to give voice to political causes that are close to them.
This was played out across the whole of Canada; in every province at least half of those surveyed backed the players’ right to protest.
This support also reflected in most age groups, with 79% of Millennials polled backing the players’ right to protest, and only those over 65 rejecting the idea by a majority.
However, 73% of Canadians polled said that athletes voicing political views by not standing during the national anthem was “inappropriate/annoying.”
Surprisingly, despite Millennials’ strong support for the players’ right to protest, this rejection of taking a knee was reflected by a majority across all age groups.
In fact, most of the Canadians surveyed also disapproved of refusals to visit the White House after wins and wearing clothes expressing a political opinion during warm-ups.
Only the fourth option presented to those polled received majority support, with 65% saying athletes sharing political opinions on social media was positive and inspiring.
So – according to the Angus Reid findings, Canadians seem to be happy for NFL players to protest – but only on social media.
Now, this was all research done before Trump’s outburst. But it does bring to mind this recent piece of commentary from The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
For your consideration:
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) September 26, 2017