Why Is Public Opinion Shifting On Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem?

The country has become engulfed in the National Anthem debate once again. Last year, National Football Player Colin Kaepernick ignited a firestorm of public opinion and debate by refusing to honor the National Anthem. In the months since, it has spread to other players and across numerous sports. Kaepernick’s reason for doing so was to protest racial inequality, a reason many others have adopted.

In the beginning, many in the general public stood by Kaepernick. While there is an argument regarding respect, they understand the importance of standing up for what is right. There are legitimate issues nationally regarding racial inequality. It’s a conversation that should be had more often, but often is muddied by partisan politics.

But at the end of the day, there is a time and place for demonstrating. Many watch sports to escape the chaos of the world, not to be roped back into it. This would explain a Fox News poll a year ago showing 61 percent of Americans feeling that taking a knee during the National Anthem is inappropriate.

This opinion has shifted in the last year however, with the number dropping to 55 percent feeling it is inappropriate.

While half of polled Americans feel this form of protest is inappropriate, trends indicate opposition is declining. This occurs as the rate of protests becomes more widespread and frequent. Why would people become more tolerant of these protests as they increase?

Many people are likely more concerned with other issues in the world, as the situation abroad has become more dire.

A year ago, it was known that North Korea was led by a paranoid and unstable regime with nuclear ambitions. In the time since he was elected, President Donald Trump has adopted a more assertive approach than his predecessors. The result has been escalating tensions.

Is another war possible? Is nuclear war with North Korea possible? This undoubtedly would be more important to Americans than football players not standing up for the National Anthem.

The same could be said for healthcare, which has been a front-and-center issue with Obamacare repeal being on and off the table for months. Tax reform and economic issues are important for many Americans trying to put food on the table for their children and keep the lights on.

Other relevant issues include digital privacy, civil rights abuses, and inequality. People are concerned about the state of society, and rightfully so.

It is arguably important to honor our country and pay tribute to its symbols, but its not mandatory. Similarly, it is possible to honor what makes this country great without standing for a song, pledging to a flag, or otherwise devoting ones self to symbols. For many, this debate is more of a petty distraction than a legitimate moral crisis facing society.

People are becoming less intolerant of the take-a-knee protests because they don’t see the issue as being particularly significant. We’re living in a world full of war, poverty, and crime. These issues threaten our way of life and could harm our families. When trying to better the world for our children, is it going to be done by fixing these issues or focusing on entertainment? The answer to this question ought to be crystal clear.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.


  1. As a libertarian I think the owners and league made a questionable business decision by allowing their employees to engage in politics on the field. But, it’s their business and they can run it as they like.

  2. The National Felon League lives up to their name as major criminal O J Simpson, felon gets out of prison today and they rehired animal abuser felon Michael Vick. What an insult to the taxpayers that fund these super rich team owners with stadiums and grant the NFL tax exempt status. It’s the taxpayers that should be protesting.

  3. Here is my .02, because l know everyone cares what l think…
    This last round of kneeling is because Trump had to stir the pot. It has nothing to do with police brutality, or unfair treatment of minorities, or whatever.

  4. You don’t protest the country and government that Gives you the right to protest ! Racist inequality and racist are in all colors black, white and Hispanic. It’s time to get rid of all programs that are promoting racial divide. Equality in the government for all !

    • Joey Acre but over my lifetime they have modified and or taken rights away… When I was born, a drivers lic was like a registration fee..each new thing they think of to make you pay more taxes… truth be told, we are paying somewhere around 60% taxes on our earnings.. and then they tax again each dollar you spend is retaxed..

  5. Similarly, it is possible to honor what makes this country great without standing for a song, pledging to a flag, or otherwise devoting ones self to symbols.
    When you split the ideas from the soil, you end up honoring some non-existent abstraction. Many libertarians say “the state” is an abstract concept, but so is “liberty” if it doesn’t have a place to be practiced.
    One of the 10 commandments says “Honor thy Father and Mother”, and doesn’t say only to do so if they are proper parents. You have what life you have because you had parents. You are their (pro)creation, and in this age your Mother decided not to abort you. You don’t treat your Dad like a criminal and call the police if he comes home drunk, (except in extremis) you help him to the couch and make his sleep comfortable.
    You are correct in the point that virtue itself is no longer honored, but I’m waiting for the condemnation of debauchery and perversion as if we are all animals that have no self-control. Or the intemperance which is used as a cudgel to preserve the war on drugs.
    The error is that it is far easier not to honor either the civitas or virtue when they are severed from what we used to call civic virtue.
    And those who reject the vapid protests (kneeling is a provocation, incitement, or protest, and is, to use SM’s term, “not an argument”) are rejecting them because the typical NFL fan still believes in civic nationalism. That you fix your country while still honoring it in the interim.
    Worse, the Athletes and Owners virtue signal about Breast cancer (but not Prostate cancer?). The players were prevented from honoring the policemen slain in Dallas by a Black Lives Matter criminal. These protests don’t occur in a vaccum. Where is the outrage over the racist hate crime last Sunday where a black man killed a number of whites? Where is the outrage over Muslim terrorist acts? If the owners tried to promote anything Traditional, they would be screeched out by ESPN and the SJWs.

    You see similar things like the LP Chairman demanding Tom Woods condemn – I forget exactly what after Charlottesville. It is not as if everyone is dividing over trivia.

    But perhaps the example of Ron Paul. Why would anyone honor a mere man? Are the abstractions the only thing that matters? Or do they have to be personified, lived out, incarnated. The USA may be a shadow of the land of Liberty it once was, but at least the ghost remains here. Turkey and Japan and Brazil never were. The USA may be in a coma with regards to the spirit of Liberty, but I’m trying to revive it, not euthanize the body.

    For if the USA falls into tyranny, where do you think liberty will arise again? The USA may fall into anarchy, so I’ve voted with my feet for that possibility (American Redoubt), but that will be a severe mercy, the severity of which will exceed the worst of the two “world wars” combined.

  6. Football is boring…not quite as boring as soccer. Politics in professional sports does not belong. People who pay exorbitant ticket prices to watch these games live and pay astronomical prices for refreshments boggle my mind. That said, they’ve coughed up a good chunk of dough to watch a sporting event. I doubt that any of them said to their family, “Hey I’ve just scored some great tickets on the 50 yard line! Can’t wait to see whose taking a knee today!!”

  7. Winder where they got 55% last week a reporter claimed only 58% opposed it. She was citing the lowest of 12 polls done in the last month they ranged from 58% to 76% opposing.

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