Poll: Social Justice Activism in Sports Leads to Deep Racial Divide Among Fans

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A new poll shows that there is a deepening racial divide over politics in sports, especially about taking a knee during the national anthem.

The Axios-Ipsos poll of 2,035 adults taken in March finds a deep racial divide in mixing politics with sports. A slight majority (54 to 44) feel it is inappropriate for athletes to take a knee during the national anthem. However, as Axios notes, that slight majority only exists because the preponderance of white respondents had serious objections to the practice.

According to the poll, 67 percent of whites find it is inappropriate to kneel during the national anthem. However, only 14 percent of blacks are against the practice. Also, 38 percent of Hispanics disagree with kneeling as did 42 percent of Asian respondents.

The divide is starker when broken down by party. Fully 89 percent of Republicans oppose kneeling during the national anthem while only 25 percent of Democrats are against it. For independents, 51 percent oppose kneeling.

The results were similar for the question of whether athletes should use their sport to speak out on political issues. The poll found a near-even split on the question with 60 percent of white respondents saying athletes should not use their sport to advocate for political causes. However, 84 percent of blacks, 63 percent of Hispanics, and 68 percent of Asians said it was OK for athletes to speak out.

There was, however, an agreement that athletes should not be fired for speaking out, regardless, and that they have a First Amendment right to speak.

Though, as to using Native American names, symbols, or mascots for sports teams, the poll found that most overall had no problem with the practice.

The poll found that 64 percent said that changing team names to get rid of Native American imagery had gone too far in America today. But there was a racial divide here, too, with blacks skewing to the far left on the topic. 61 percent of blacks said that teams should not be allowed to use Native American names or mascots. A strong majority of whites disagreed with the black respondents and slight majorities of Hispanics and Asians joined whites in their positive view of using Native American names and mascots.

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