Public approval of the professional sports industry has dropped over the past few months due to the coronavirus pandemic and the leagues’ constant attempts to force social justice into the games, according to a recent poll.
Gallup survey results published on Tuesday found that from August 2019 to this year, the percentage of people who said they have a positive perception of the sports industry dropped 15 points, from 45% to 30%.
Only 30% of respondents said they view the sports industry positively, while 40% said they view it negatively.
Compare these numbers to last year, when 45% viewed it positively and 25% viewed it negatively.
The poll was conducted from July 30 to Aug. 12, which is when the NBA allowed its players to kneel for the National Anthem and showcased its courts that had the phrase “Black Lives Matter” plastered on them.
The survey concluded prior to the high-profile walkout of NBA players after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., and the riots that followed.
“While it’s not clear how much the various challenges and controversies swirling around the industry are each responsible for its slide in popularity, it is notable that sports has lost more support from Republicans and independents than from Democrats,” Gallup explained.
President Trump has criticized the NBA and NFL for adopting woke values that turn many viewers off.
He argued that the NFL shouldn’t even hold its upcoming season if players plan on kneeling for the anthem.
“Well, they want to open, and they want to open badly, and they’ve been working with government,” Trump told Fox Sports Radio last month. “And I would say this, if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open.”
Former NFL player Burgess Owens, a Republican candidate for Congress in Utah, echoed Trump’s concerns and said that the leagues have taken the joy out of sports by making them political.
“They don’t care enough about their fans who love this country,” he said of the NFL. “If [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell allows [Colin] Kaepernick to come back, if they allow players to kneel during the national anthem, I’m willing to not watch the game.”