Colin Kaepernick’s protests of the national anthem started more than a year ago. Yet in that time, opinions on his protest have changed very little. According to a new Yahoo Sports survey, the way Americans felt about Kaepernick in August 2016 is pretty much the way they feel right now, with the surprising exception of one group.
Back in September 2016, 32 percent supported Kaepernick’s protest, and 47 percent opposed it. The numbers since then have not changed appreciably: 30 percent now support his protest, and 46 percent oppose it. Racial breakdowns, however, do waver a bit; in an October 2016 poll, 62 percent of black Americans supported Kaepernick, but that number dropped to 50 percent in the current poll. Just 5 percent opposed Kaepernick last October; that number is up to 11 percent in the most recent one. (Yahoo Sports surveyed 1,100 adults on Aug. 29 and 30, and figures were weighted to match the overall U.S., age 18 and over. )
Worth noting: nearly a third of fans indicated that they would sign Kaepernick if they owned an NFL team. Theoretically, then, you could say that 10 teams ought to sign Kaepernick, but then again the sensibilities and sensitivities of NFL team owners are dramatically different than an average cross-section of Americans. Overall, 42 percent of respondents said they believe Kaepernick is being treated fairly by the NFL, while only 28 percent said they believe he is being treated unfairly.
The survey also asked if participants would watch fewer NFL games if protests continued. Half of all respondents indicated they would continue to watch the NFL as they always had, but 39 percent said they would watch less of the NFL.
The key takeaway from the Kaepernick surveys may be this: even after a year of commentary, a year where everyone on your Facebook to the president weighed in on whether Kaepernick’s stance was noble or treasonous, opinions have remained almost exactly the same. We believe what we believe, and neither time nor new information will change that.