Anthem protest spills into tennis, as NFL deals with bad news a week before season kick-off

The controversy over football players protesting during the national anthem has spilled over into tennis just as a new poll delivered a negative blow to the NFL.

Less than one week before the start of the 2018 NFL regular season, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that not as many people closely follow the NFL as they did a few years ago. Fans are also deeply divided over the issue.

(Image: Wikimedia)

While the poll found a three percent increase from January in the number of registered voters closely following the NFL this season, the 52 percent figure reveals a six point decrease from 2014. Men over 50 years old follow the league more closely than any other demographic but they are also the ones most likely to disapprove of the anthem protests which were sparked by former San Francisco 49ers player, Colin Kaepernick.

The poll revealed that 54 percent of those responding found the protests inappropriate while 43 percent said they are appropriate. The poll released Friday from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal also found that 89 percent of Trump voters called the protests during the national anthem inappropriate.

(Image: NBC News)

“It’s not going in the right direction,” Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster,  told the Wall Street Journal.

“I’m pretty much over it. I’m sticking with college football from here on out,” Dallas Cowboys fan Tommy Davis said.

Meanwhile, Tennis star Serena Williams thinks everyone should be “completely grateful” for the NFL protests.

Kaepernick and fellow former San Francisco 49ers player, Eric Reid, were in attendance at Williams’match at the U.S. Open last week where they received a rousing standing ovation, the Associated Press reported.

“I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African-American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good, so to say,” Williams said after the match according to the AP. “They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable. I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change.”

After the match, Kaepernick tweeted a photo of his niece with a shout out to the tennis star.

“Lani lost it when Serena surprised her after the match!!! Thank you so much Serena !!!”

Fans on Twitter were clear about their plans in the upcoming NFL regular season which kicks off Thursday, Sept. 6 as the Atlanta Falcons take on the Philadelphia Eagles, this year’s Super Bowl champions.

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Frieda Powers

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