The majority of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s continued tweets about the NFL player protests — and also disapprove of how the NFL has handled the protests.
In an exclusive Yahoo Finance poll conducted by SurveyMonkey, six in 10 Americans (59%) said they disapprove of Trump’s NFL tweets, while 38% said they approve of the tweets. Of those who disapprove, 46% “strongly disapprove” while 13% just “somewhat disapprove.”
In another question, respondents were asked how well the NFL has handled the player protests. 68% say the NFL has handled it poorly: 39% said “very poorly,” while 29% said “somewhat poorly.” Twenty-two percent said the NFL has handled the protests “somewhat well,” and a slim 5% said the NFL has handled them “very well.”
Responses fall along predictable political lines: Republicans widely approve of Trump’s NFL tweets (75%) while almost all Democrats disapprove (90%). However, Republicans and Democrats agree on their disapproval of the NFL’s handling of the protests, though Republicans are slightly more likely to disapprove (by 81% to 64%).
SurveyMonkey polled 2,386 adults in the U.S., ages 18 or older, online from Aug. 13-15. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his silent protest back in August 2016 as a way to bring attention to police brutality toward people of color.
Trump did not pick up on the issue publicly until September 2017, when he spent three minutes of a speech in Alabama railing against NFL team owners for allowing players to protest during the national anthem, encouraging them to “fire” the “son of a bitch” players who protest; he also urged fans to walk out of NFL games if players protest during the anthem. Since then, he has tweeted about the NFL and the protests 24 times.
In May, the NFL decided on a new policy to effectively ban kneeling next season by fining teams whose players do not stand for the anthem. The NFLPA filed a grievance over the new policy and the NFL put the new policy on hold for now. Trump tweeted in July, “NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again — can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
But in the first week of this year’s NFL preseason, some players knelt during the anthem or put up a fist. That led Trump to voice his displeasure again and urge players to “be happy, be cool.”
…..Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018