Nearly half of the state’s registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of the National Football League, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
The recently mighty NFL faces both a political crisis over player protests and a public health crisis over the long-term effects of concussions in contact sports. Players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequity have attracted the wrath of President Donald Trump and his supporters. And increasing evidence that repeated concussions can cause long-term brain damage has eroded the sport’s reputation, particularly among kids, as a healthy activity.
“Trump made this an issue,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “He understood that making this about the national anthem was good politically. It’s very clear it has hurt the NFL, and that it’s polarized politically and polarized racially.”
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