Nearly Half of Virginians Oppose School Athletes Protesting During the National Anthem

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

A close, near 50/50 split among residents of Virginia was revealed when citizens were asked if they would support a statewide ban on students athletes being permitted to protest the country during the playing of the national anthem.

The poll released on January 16 by Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs showed that 45 percent of respondents said they would support a ban on students taking a knee during the anthem at government-supported schools. Meanwhile 50 percent said they would support the student protests and oppose such a ban. The remaining five percent said they were undecided, CBS 6 reported.

Upon releasing the poll results, Robyn McDougle, director of the Wilder School’s Office of Public Policy Outreach, noted that the state legislature had not proposed any such ban on protests. But the poll results, she said, shows that if such a ban were to be proposed, it would be a controversial issue.

“The national debate on the issue led us to measure public opinion on the hypothetical question,” McDougle said in a statement “And it shows that any such proposal would be controversial, especially in Northern Virginia and for nonwhite Virginians.”

These protests against the country metastasized from the National Football League to state colleges, primary schools, and amateur sports since 2016 when now-former NFL player Colin Kaepernick first took a knee to protest against the country, the flag, and our nation’s history.

The poll was taken from a random sample of 788 adults interviewed by landline and cell phone between Dec. 8 and 26. The margin of error was 3.5 points.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.