Poll: Majority says NFL players taking a knee isn’t unpatriotic
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More than half of polled U.S. voters do not believe that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are unpatriotic, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Similarly, 53 percent of respondents said professional athletes have a right to protest on the playing field, the poll found. But a slight majority — 51 percent — said they still support the NFL's new policy requiring players to stand during the national anthem.

That policy, announced by league officials last month, also gives players the option to remain in their locker rooms during the anthem. Under the rule, the league can fine teams whose players kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner."


According to the Quinnipiac poll, however, 51 percent of respondents disagree with that punishment, while 44 percent support it. 

Overall, 58 percent said players who kneel during the anthem are not unpatriotic, compared to 35 percent who said they are, according to the poll. Republicans, however, took a much starker view of the issue, with 70 percent saying that players who protested during the anthem are unpatriotic.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE has repeatedly railed against the on-field protests, which began in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality toward people of color.

The president reignited a feud with dozens of NFL players last year, when he called for team owners and coaches to fire athletes who took part in the protests, accusing them of being unpatriotic and disrespecting U.S. military service members and veterans.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,223 voters nationwide from May 31 to June 5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.