More players are expected to protest during the national anthem in the 2020 NFL season, and it appears they will have the support of most Americans.

In the view of 56% of Americans, it is appropriate for athletes to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, a Washington Post poll indicated Wednesday. That’s up from 52% of Americans in July and 43% of Americans who were polled two years ago.

Fifty-nine percent of football fans said kneeling during the anthem is an appropriate way to protest racial inequality. Forty-two percent of the 1,001 U.S. adults polled this month said it is inappropriate for athletes to kneel. Sixty-two percent said athletes should use their platform to express their views on national issues. 

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said this week on the PFT PM Podcast he believes some members of his team will kneel for the national anthem. Almost every NBA player has knelt during the anthem since the league’s restart in late July, and various MLB players have demonstrated during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

When the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans kick off the season Thursday night, the players might demonstrate against racial injustice by staying in the locker room during the national anthem, NFL Network reports.  

 

 

Views on protesting are split along both party and racial lines. The poll indicated 73% of Democrats and 72% of Black Americans consider it appropriate to protest against racial inequality by kneeling during the anthem. Only 36% of Republicans and 52% of white Americans agreed. 

Seventy percent of  Americans less than 50 years of age support athletes using their platforms to discuss nonsports matters, the poll indicated. When it comes to Americans who are at least 65 years old, 55% said athletes should not share their views.

Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem during the 2016 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2017 that he believed everyone should stand for the anthem.

Earlier this year, Goodell said the NFL was wrong for not initially supporting the league’s players.

Los Angeles Rams Tremayne Anchrum #72, Bryce Perkins #5 and Nsimba Webster #14 of the Los Angeles Rams kneel during the national anthem prior to a team scrimmage at SoFi Stadium on August 29, 2020 in Inglewood, California. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images