Even College Students Have A Racial Divide On NFL Players 'Taking A Knee' During Anthem | KERA News

Even College Students Have A Racial Divide On NFL Players 'Taking A Knee' During Anthem

Nov 25, 2017

President Trump took another predawn Twitter swipe at a protesting NFL player this morning.  That came after a UT-Dallas researcher released a new study showing a deep racial divide among college students about "taking a knee" protests.

Trump's target this time was Olivier Vernon of the New York Giants. Vernon took a knee during the national anthem of the nationally televised, Thanksgiving-night game against Washington.

Vernon is the son of a retired cop. He and dozens of NFL players have been protesting racial inequality and police treatment of African-Americans.

Alex Piquero's research shows that divide reaching college campuses. 

Interview Highlights

Who was surveyed: "About 300 young adults in the Midwest. We asked them three questions related to the extent to which they were supportive of NFL players' protests during the national anthem."

The survey's results: "Three-quarters of African Americans supported the protests, whereas only a quarter of the whites did. But then when we looked at punishment, we found that every single black respondent disagreed or strongly disagreed with either the NFL punishing the players or team owners punishing the players, where in fact almost the opposite was true with whites"

On how the findings correlate with President Trump’s support: "More conservative respondents were more likely to disagree with the protests, and they were more supportive of punishment. Then, we asked respondents whether or not they agreed with President Trump's initial tweet coming out against the protesting players several months ago. Those respondents who agreed with the president about 'firing those players' were more likely to support the punishment and very much unlikely to support the protests." 

Study Results

  • Is kneeling during the national anthem appropriate? 90 percent of black respondents agree/strongly agree; 38 percent of non-black respondents agree/strongly agree.
  • Is raising a fist in the air appropriate? 88 percent of black respondents agree/strongly agree; 32 percent of non-black respondents agree/strongly agree.
  • Is sitting during the national anthem appropriate? 73 percent of black respondents agree/strongly agree; 22 percent of non-black respondents agree/strongly agree.
  • Should the NFL punish players who protest? 100 percent of black respondents disagree/strongly disagree; 25 percent of non-black respondents disagree/strongly disagree.
  • Should NFL owners punish players who protest? 100 percent of black respondents disagree/strongly disagree; 29 percent of non-black respondents disagree/strongly disagree.

Photo credit: Rodger Mallison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.