Polling ahead of the 2021 NFL season indicates that, despite an increasingly political landscape for the sport and its fans, Americans overwhelmingly would prefer that the National Anthem continue to be the sole anthem played prior to games.
According to a recent poll conducted by Newt Gingrich’s American Majority Project in conjunction with McLaughlin & Associates, a total of 61% of Americans believe that “only” the American National Anthem should be played at NFL Games. That figure ticks up slightly to 64% among Republicans, and falls to 58% among Independents, while 11% of those polled said they don’t know.
National Gingrich 360 Anthem X-tabs 8-3-21 .pdf
The poll was conducted in the wake of the NFL’s recent decision to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – often referred to as the black national anthem – before all games during the upcoming season, ahead of the playing of the American National Anthem. The song was initially introduced by the NFL when it was sung by Alicia Keys at the Super Bowl for the 2020-2021 season. The decision to play the song before each game is reportedly part of the league’s quarter-billion dollar investment in social justice messaging and initiatives.
Hope Solo, the former goalie for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, said during an interview on Tuesday that her teammate Megan Rapinoe would resort to bullying tactics to coerce the other players into kneeling during the National Anthem, Fox News reports.
“I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way,” Solo said on the podcast “All of US: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show.” However, Solo noted, “it’s our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we’re comfortable with,” before going on to describe the kneeling phenomenon as “very divisive.”
For this reason, Solo said she was relieved when the National Anthem was removed from the beginning of the game “to really remove that decision from athletes, because that’s very tough.”
Only one player on the U.S. Women’s National Team, Carli Lloyd, stood for the country’s national anthem before the team’s match against Australia.
After being the only player to stand for the patriotic song, Lloyd went on to score her 10th Olympic goal, breaking a record previously held by Abby Wambach.
The team, which had a disappointing showing during the Olympics, knelt throughout the course of the games and received a bronze medal after an unexpected loss to Canada.
If anyone was hoping that the return of the long-awaited Major League season would lift our spirits and bring us together, they had to be disappointed to learn that we are more divided than ever over the National Anthem kneeling debate. And although President Trump has not chosen to join the burgeoning #BoycottMLB movement on Twitter, the president has joined a growing number of disheartened baseball fans who are unhappy that their favorite teams are taking the knee. Even before the start of the season, President Trump tweeted that he was “looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!”
An Ohio school district announced over the weekend that it won’t stop student athletes protesting police brutality from kneeling during the national anthem.