A new poll claims that Americans are split over whether players should stand in honor of the national anthem.
A CBS News poll released just ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday found that respondents were evenly split, with 50 percent saying players should stand for the anthem and 50 percent saying they should not be forced to do so, the Hill reported.
In other results, a lopsided 77 percent said that there is nothing wrong with professional players using their platform to push their own personal political ideals. But 46 percent said players should not use game time as a platform to do so.
The topic of standing for the anthem took a sudden turn to contentiousness when former NFL player Colin Kaepernick began protesting against the country during the national anthem starting with the 2016 NFL season. The next season the protests exploded across the NFL and even seeped into other professional sports, not to mention college, high school, and amateur sports.
President Donald Trump decried the display of anti-Americanism drawing further heat to the issue.
The president reiterated his distaste of the protests in an interview on Face the Nation on Sunday, saying, “I think that when you want to protest, I think that’s great. But I don’t think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem.”
Still, by 2018 the protests dwindled to almost nothing and fans began to move past their ire over the disruptions, especially among NFL fans.
The CBS poll also found that 47 percent are pulling for the Los Angeles Rams in this year’s big game while only 27 percent want the New England Patriots to win another Super Bowl victory. An additional 26 percent said it does not matter which team wins.
The poll quizzed 1,596 U.S. residents online from Jan. 28 to 31. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 points.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.