Poll: Political Correctness Damaging the NFL Brand

Anthem Protests
AP Photo/Matt Dunham

A new poll finds that approval ratings for the NFL are still falling as many say that political correctness is killing pro football.

The Fox News poll finds that voters think political correctness has “gone too far” by a 68-19 percent margin, Fox reported.

Also, 46 percent of respondents found that business leaders and politicians often make bad decisions based on political correctness. Another 34 percent allowed that it occurs “sometimes” while only 15 percent said it “hardly ever” happens.

The poll was particularly worrisome for the National Football League which got sacked by a low favorability rating.

The poll, taken a few weeks after the NFL’s recent announcement of new rules to curb player protests during the playing of the national anthem, found that pro football is still losing ground with Americans. Only 42 percent viewed the league favorably. That is down from the 46 percent seen in last year’s poll and way down from the 64 percent result found in 2013.

For the first time, this poll found that more respondents had an unfavorable view of the NFL than a favorable one at 43 to 42 percent.

However, in a sign that the league may be on more stable ground in the near future, fully 61 percent said they approve of the league’s new no-protest rule. Only 33 percent said they disagree with the idea of forcing players to stand for the anthem.

As seen in many other polls on the NFL, a stark split is seen along racial and political lines. The Fox poll found that 56 percent of black respondents dislike the new rule while only 28 percent of whites view the rule unfavorably. Also, 54 percent of Democrats are against the rule compared to only 10 percent of Republicans.

Still, despite the roiling controversies, those who claimed to be football fans had a higher opinion of the NFL than the general public. 64 percent of those who claimed to be fans said they like the league. Of that group, 60 percent also said they like the new no-protest rule.

The poll taken of 1,001 random registered voters was taken between June 3 and 6. It has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.