A new poll shows that a majority of NFL fans believe Commissioner Roger Goodell should keep his job.
The poll’s results overshadow a disturbing message: the devaluing of children. The poll found that 43% thought that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice should be suspended forever from the NFL for assaulting his wife, and 49% of respondents felt Rice should at least be suspended for a period of time, but only 15% thought that running back Adrian Peterson should be suspended forever for allegedly beating his four-year-old son so viciously that it damaged the child’s scrotum.
The Associated Press-GfK Poll found that 66% of those polled thought Goodell should remain, despite his much-criticized handling of the Rice affair, in which he initially suspended Rice for two games, then upped it to an indefinite suspension after TMZ released video of the assault. Nearly a third of respondents thought Goodell should be forced out.
The poll found a gender gap with regard to Rice. A majority of women felt he should be banned for life from the NFL, while only 37% of men agreed. There was a racial gap as well. Only 19% of black fans favored a lifetime ban, while 46% of white fans wanted Rice banned for life.
More than half of the respondents thought Peterson should be permitted to play in the NFL if he is found not guilty of child abuse; 29% said he should be allowed to play no matter what the verdict. Men were more tolerant of Peterson’s actions; 34% said he should be permitted to play no matter what happens, while only 22% of women agreed. The racial gap was huge; 45% of black fans said Peterson should play whatever the verdict is, while only 25% of white fans agreed.
The NFL has apparently lost favor with fans. The poll showed that 43% of those polled considered themselves fans of the NFL, while the polling outfit’s survey from last January found 49% of respondents as fans. In January, 19% said they had become more interested in the NFL in the last five years, with 12% asserting their interest had waned; in the latest poll, 12% said their interest had grown while 15% said it had dropped. Among those whose interest had waned, 42% said it was because of the recent domestic violence cases.