Protesting Pro Athletes May Finally Be Speaking to a Willing Audience
A YouGov survey of 7,425 U.S. adults reveals a majority support NBA teams not playing their scheduled playoff games in response to the Jacob Blake shooting. Forty-five percent of respondents are strong in their backing while 12 are somewhat strong. Twenty-one percent strongly oppose the choice while seven percent are somewhat against it. Fifteen percent honestly don't know either way.
This is one poll. One data point. Making sweeping proclamations based on its findings would be specious at best. But considering the non-partisan nature of the source, we don't have to wait to process the significance of the results — in that even one poll showing this type of public acceptance is quite remarkable.
Consider four years ago. Colin Kaepernick's protests were met with overwhelming skepticism. Even those on the same idealogical track as the quarterback were reticent to rush to his side. Consider that his choice was combatted by the powers-that-be and he remains effectively ostracized by the NFL.
People of all persuasions have felt the sands of public opinion shift anecdotally. The empirical data is beginning to support that feeling. Whatever a person's value judgment may be, they have to at least acknowledge that the conversation has changed. The argument that wokeness is alienating more than its helping was always a bit dubious. Now there's some evidence to make it even more so.
Personally, it's easy to see numbers like this and see them as part and parcel of the larger catastrophe that's plagued the country over the past several months. The pandemic and resulting shutdowns have changed both how viewers consume sports and how they accept when they are momentarily taken away. There's an argument to be made that some of the sting and impact of withholding labor was reduced solely by the fact that the public have grown accustomed to fits and starts in the sporting world.
In summation, there's a little bit of something for everyone in this survey and though we may be slightly closer to a consensus, such utopia still remains on an inaccessible horizon.