Many Republicans Think NFL Does 'Too Much' For Black Players: Super Bowl Poll

A Los Angeles Times survey revealed that the political divide in the U.S. extends into NFL viewership.

Forty-five percent of Republicans believe the NFL provides too much support for its Black players, who make up nearly 70% of the league.

That’s according to a Los Angeles Times poll released Wednesday ahead of the Super Bowl that asked respondents to assess how much the NFL has done for Black players. Only 22% of all respondents said the league has done “too much.” And 57% of Democrats said the league hasn’t done enough.

GOP members also took a much dimmer view of the league’s revamped hiring practices for coaching vacancies: 48% approved of the “Rooney Rule,” which requires teams to interview minority candidates from the outside for head coaching positions and coordinator jobs.

Even with the rule in place, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the only Black head coach among the league’s 32 teams until this week, when the Houston Texans hired Lovie Smith and the Miami Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel, who is biracial.

One recently fired Black coach, Brian Flores at Miami, is suing the NFL for discrimination. He accused the New York Giants and Denver Broncos of granting him interviews with no intent of hiring him.

Support for the Rooney Rule among Democrats hovers at 85%, the survey said.

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams carries the ball during the NFC title game on Jan. 30.
Odell Beckham Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams carries the ball during the NFC title game on Jan. 30.
Wally Skalij via Getty Images

Republicans’ responses likely stemmed in part from resentment over national anthem protests, the Times noted. As more players followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead and took a knee to protest racism and police brutality, then-President Donald Trump disparaged them, saying in 2017 that team owners should say “get that son of a bitch off the field right now” about any player who kneels.

The NFL launched a $250 million social justice program in 2020 to combat systemic racism following a video declaration by commissioner Roger Goodell that “Black lives matter.”

Goodell, however, conceded this week that the league has fallen short in its goals. In reference to Flores’ legal action, he said, “We won’t tolerate racism.”

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