A majority of voters say they believe it is inappropriate for NFL players to kneel during the national anthem as a way to protest policy brutality and racial inequality, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Friday.
The survey reports that 54 percent of voters in the sample believe the form of protest to be inappropriate, while 43 percent say it is an appropriate way to bring awareness to the issues the players are protesting.
The responses were heavily divided along partisan lines.
About 88 percent of Republicans polled believe the protests are inappropriate, while 72 percent of Democrats in the survey believe kneeling is an appropriate form of protest.
Independents surveyed believed kneeling during the national anthem was inappropriate by a 15-point margin, with 57 saying kneeling to protest is inappropriate and 42 percent saying it's appropriate.
The results also fall sharply along racial lines.
About 70 percent of the African-American voters polled support the protests, compared to 38 percent of the white voters and 47 percent of the Hispanic voters who say the same.
The poll comes as the new NFL season is about to kick off and as President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE renews his attacks on the form of protest.
“.....Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!” the president tweeted earlier this month.
.....Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018
The protests were started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 season. They grew in 2017 as many different players from a number of teams took a knee during the anthem.