Americans are more with Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players who protest racial injustice during the national anthem than the media likes to portray. The ideals of Kaepernick and his protesting brethren resonate with the people, but just like the Democratic party, there's a major messaging issue going on here.
Polls show that more Americans agree with the Democrats on the actual substance of the major issues than do not, but the left continues to lose the communications battle.
The same holds true with Colin Kaepernick and protests staged during the national anthem at NFL games. More people are more focused on their fantasy teams and the point spread than the Star-Spangled Banner on Sundays. In fact, far too many people are ignorant about what the national anthem protests really even mean.
Just think about how many people in this country right now mistakenly believe that players are actually protesting the flag, or the armed services. How many people in this country aren't even aware that this debate is actually about #BlackLivesMatter, police brutality and racial injustice?
The right wants a culture war, and every time President Donald Trump tweets his vitriol at an African-American athlete these days, it is nothing more than a racist dogwhistle to his base. The best thing we can all do as a nation is to try and not pay much attention to it.
We can have a quick chuckle and just move on.
When Trump attacked Marshawn Lynch for his anthem protest early this week, it didn't have much legs in the news cycle, and that's exactly how it should be. Of course, it's not what the media really wants though.
They want conflict, debate and they thrive on an environment of persistent diametric opposition. The media is biased, but the bias is to always making every single thing a much bigger deal than it is. Every minor tiff or skirmish is ALL OUT WAR according to the final news product, and thus the people who side with Colin Kaepernick go overlooked. It's exactly like Richard Nixon's "silent majority."
Who writes letters to the editor?
Who posts comments on articles?
Damn near all the time it's the passionate malcontents. For exhibit A just read the very last post on this topic. That op-ed was one of defiance and dissent, and thus got much more attention than the previous opinion piece we did on Colin Kaepernick, which is more glowing in nature.
Controversy always moves the needle much more than positivity, always has and always will.
What about the actual dispassionate numbers and unfeeling statistics on this issue? Forget narratives and constructs, let's look at the social science.
The American Civil Liberties Union released public opinion polling a week ago that shows consensus support for criminal justice reform across the ideological and political spectrum.
The ACLU trumpets that two thirds of Americans actually agree with Colin Kaepernick.
The poll shows a remarkable level of agreement between Americans of varying political parties and demographics:
71% say it is important to reduce the prison population in America, including 87% of Democrats, 67% of Independents, and 57% of Republicans: including 52% of Trump voters.
Two in three Americans (68%) would be more likely to vote for an elected official if the candidate supported reducing the prison population and using the savings to reinvest in drug treatment and mental health programs, including 65 percent of Trump voters.
This isn't what the media wants to report, and it's certainly not a theme we'll be hearing from the far right any time soon.
“Americans reject President Trump’s 1990s-era tough-on-crime approach and overwhelmingly believe in a different and smarter approach,” said Udi Ofer, Campaign for Smart Justice director at the ACLU.
“Our poll demonstrates near-consensus support for criminal justice reform, including reducing the prison population, reinvesting in rehabilitation and treatment, and eliminating policies like mandatory minimums. Americans believe that resources should be shifted from incarceration to rehabilitation."
"Americans also believe that racism in policing, prosecution, and sentencing drive inequities in the criminal justice system."
“The data is clear — when it comes to criminal justice, Americans want reform and rehabilitation, and reject President Trump’s outdated political playbook. Trump and Sessions are out of touch with what voters want, including in their own party.”
Additionally, Ball State University recently released the results of the study they conducted on this topic.
Frankly, "Ball don't lie," (although it is not in fact a state) as their study, entitled “The Racial Divide Surrounding United States of America National Anthem Protests in the National Football League” was published online in the academic journal Deviant Behavior.
The research team believes the study is the first empirical work to examine different types of anthem protests.
The study found approval for various protests:
· Kneeling — 90.2 percent of African-Americans approved compared to 37.7 percent of other groups.
· Fist in the air — 87.8 percent African-Americans approved compared to 31.8 of other groups.
· Sitting — 73.1 percent African-Americans approved compared to 21.6 percent of other groups.
“It would be interesting to see whether attitudes directed at protesting would vary in other mainstream sports, such as basketball, hockey, baseball, golf and auto racing," said Jonathan Intravia, a criminal justice and criminology professor at Ball State University/co-author of the study.
"Also, it would be fascinating to understand how mass media influences respondents’ attitudes toward protesting and punishment.”
We couldn't agree more! They should study more sports, and make sure they do NASCAR next.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune corporation blogging community Chicago Now.
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