Americans Know That NFL Players Aren't Protesting The American Flag

Nearly half of Americans know the protests are about police brutality. Just 12 percent think they're about the flag, a new poll has found.
Buffalo Bills players kneel in protest during the national anthem on Sept. 24, 2017.
Buffalo Bills players kneel in protest during the national anthem on Sept. 24, 2017.

Even as their political leaders furiously muddy the issue, 48 percent of Americans say NFL players are kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey has found. Another 40 percent say the players are specifically protesting President Donald Trump, who last week called on NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who kneels during the national anthem.

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have repeatedly claimed that the players’ demonstrations, which began with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season and have continued this year, are an unpatriotic affront to the U.S. military and the American flag.

That message apparently isn’t sinking in: Just 12 percent of Americans believe the flag is the target of the protests, according to the poll, which was conducted this week and allowed respondents to choose multiple explanations for the protest.

Americans aren’t buying Trump’s other arguments, either: Some 52 percent of the poll’s respondents said athletes who protest shouldn’t be fired from their jobs. That number rose to 61 percent among respondents who said they were NFL fans. 

For more on the poll’s results, click here

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Sept. 25-26 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.