Poll: Americans split over whether NFL should require players on the field to stand for anthem
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Americans are split evenly over whether the NFL should require players who are on the field during the national anthem to stand, a poll released Sunday found, though most disapproved of how President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE and league owners responded to protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner."

A CBS News poll released Sunday found that 50 percent of those surveyed believe the league should require those on the field for the anthem to stand, and 50 percent said players should be allowed to stand or kneel as they choose.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said athletes should be able to use their positions to discuss politics and other issues, but 46 percent said they should not do so during sporting events.

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Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem early in the 2016 season to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality. Dozens of players took a knee, raised a fist or remained off the sidelines while the national anthem was played during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, prompting backlash from Trump and conservatives.

The president called for owners to fire players who protest during the anthem, and suggested those who demonstrated did not belong in the country.

Last summer, the league briefly considered implementing a policy that would penalize players who took a knee during the anthem. Owners eventually backtracked and put the rule on hold. The protests largely subsided during the 2018 season.

Sunday's CBS poll found that 63 percent of respondents believe the president responded inappropriately to the player protests, and 66 percent said the same of league owners.

"I think that when you want to protest I think that's great," Trump said in an interview broadcast on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "But I don't think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem."

Roughly seven-in-10 people surveyed said they dislike when Trump criticizes athletes, while 31 percent said they like it. The president has taken aim at NFL players and NBA stars Stephen Curry and LeBron James, among other sports figures.

The CBS poll surveyed 1,596 U.S. residents online from Jan. 28 to 31. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points.