New Poll: By over 2 to 1, USA Believes NFL not Honest in Recent Years on Subject of Head Injuries




   Both men and women agree –

73% Say Women’s soccer team pay should equal men’s

South Orange, NJ, April 15, 2016 — By more than a 2 to 1 margin, the nation believes theNational Football League has not been honest in recent years on the subject of head injuries, according to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week. While 26% believe the league has been honest, 58% feels it has not been. 16% said they did not know.

The poll was conducted among 730 adults on both landlines and cellphones across the nation. (There is a margin of error of +/- 3.7%).

29% – nearly a third – now view the NFL less favorably, with 56% saying the matter has had no effect on their feelings about the league. (7% see it more favorably).

“Even though an overwhelming margin feels the league has been less than honest on this issue, the NFL continues to enjoy great popularity, with a majority of the respondents still saying it has no effect on how they view the league,” said Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “But the 29% who view the league less favorably is a substantial number.”

51% feel the NFL is not doing enough to protect its players from concussions and head injuries (vs. 35% who feel they do), and 54% feel they do not do enough for retired players who suffer from brain injuries (vs. 22% who feel they do). These “not doing enough” numbers are up 10% for both active and retired players since the question was last asked, in October 2014, by the Poll.

49% feel the sudden retirement of the New York Jets lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson will raise awareness of the subject of head injuries.   And a whopping 80% feel that greater precautions should be taken by high school and college programs to limit concussions.

When asked “If your son wanted to play football…..” only 21% said they would enthusiastically encourage it, 56% said they would cautiously allow it, and 18% said they would absolutely forbid it. Among men, it was 30% (encourage), 49% (allow), 18% (forbid), while among women, it was 13% (encourage), 62% (allow), and 19% (forbid).


While a national dialogue on the matter of equal pay for women plays out on the Presidential campaign trail, on the matter of members of the US Women’s Soccer team (World Cup champions), receiving comparable pay to members of the Men’s team, 73% indicated they should receive the same pay, with an additional 11% saying they should receive more. Only 8% said they should receive less, as they currently do. Men strongly support equal pay, with 69% of them approving, while 76% of women concur.


With the NBA Commissioner saying he would like to raise the minimum age to draft players from 19 to 20, this effectively meant college players would have to complete two years, not one. 55% of respondents agreed with the two years of college plan, with only 13% supporting one year. The Poll asked this question in March, 2014, at which time 54% supported two years, and 19% supported one and done.


The Poll asked if interest would change if college athletes were compensated, and 64% said their interest would remain the same, with 24% saying it would decrease and only 11% saying it would increase.


Asked if they would be be interested in seeing a further growth of hockey on the college level, 44% indicated they would be either somewhat interested (28%) or very interested (16%), with 51% saying they were not interested in that.


Asked how likely they would be to buy a product endorsed by some leading PGA professionals, Phil Mickelson’s 24% “likely” rated highest among the five players listed, with Tiger Woods receiving 21%, Rory McIlroy 19%, Jordan Spieth 17% and Master’s winner Danny Willett 9%. The “not likely” tally came in at 62% for Woods, 61% for Willett, 56% for Spieth, 55% for Mickelson and 54% for McIlroy. Mickelson also scored highest (46%) among those identifying themselves as fans or players of golf (38.5% of all polled).

Buying Products Endorsed by Golf Stars


Results           Likely      Unlikely         Golf Fans Likely       Golf Fans Unlikely


Mickelson       24%            55                         46                                40

Woods             21               62                         35                                52

McIlroy            19                54                        38                                44

Spieth              17               55                         35                                47

Willett              9                  61                         17                                58
Rick Gentile will be interviewed by Seth Everett for a podcast on the poll’s findings. Links will follow upon completion.


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

For more information, visit

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone April 11-13 among 730 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

The results

  1. An NFL Executive Vice President has suggested that there is a link between football and severe brain injury. Do you think the league has been honest about this link in dealing with the subject of head injuries for the past few years?

Yes 26

No 58

Don’t know 16


Has the league’s handling of the controversy concerning brain injuries made you feel more favorable to the NFL, less favorable to the NFL or has it not affected your view of the league?

More favorable 7

Less favorable 29

No effect 56

Don’t know 8


  1. Do you think the NFL is doing enough to protect its players from concussions and head injuries?

Yes 35

No 51

Don’t know 15


  1. Do you think the NFL has done enough for retired players who suffer from brain injuries after sustaining concussions during their playing days?

Yes 22

No 54

Don’t know 24


  1. NY Jets offensive lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson just announced his retirement after never missing a game for his entire 10-year career. He had stated that he was troubled by the NFL’s downplaying the long-term effects of concussions.

Do you think his retirement will raise awareness of the subject of head injuries or not have any effect on awareness?

Raise awareness 49

Have no effect 36

Don’t know 15


  1. Do you think greater precautions should be taken by high school and college football organizations to limit the number of concussions by student/athletes, or is enough being done?

Greater precautions 80

Enough being done 13

Don’t know 8


If your son wanted to play football would you enthusiastically encourage it, cautiously allow it or absolutely forbid it?

Enthusiastically encourage 21

Cautiously allow    56

Absolutely forbid 18

Don’t know      6

  1. The Commissioner of the NBA has said he wants to raise the minimum age for eligibility to the NBA draft from 19 to 20. In effect, this means players would have to finish two years of college before becoming eligible instead of one year as it is now. Do you think they should leave the rule as it is now at one year, change to two years, or have no limits for when a player can be drafted?

One year 13

Two years 55

No limits 19

Don’t know 11


If collegiate athletes begin to receive salaries would your interest in following college athletics increase, decrease or remain the same?

Increase 11

Decrease 24

Remain the same 64


  1. Collegiate hockey has seen more participation recently. How interested would you be in seeing further growth of hockey on the collegiate level, very interested, somewhat interested or not at all interested?

Very interested 16

Somewhat interested 28

Not interested 51

Don’t know 6


Members of the US Women’s Soccer team have filed suit against USA Soccer because despite winning the Women’s World Cup they received about one quarter of what the men, who finished 15th, received. Do you think the women should receive more than the men, the same as the men or less than the men?

More 11

Same 73

Less 8

Don’t know 9


  1. Do you either play golf, follow golf or watch golf broadcasts?

Yes 39

No 57

Don’t know 4


  1. How likely would you be to buy a product endorsed by the following players:


Jordan Spieth

Likely 17

Not likely 56

Don’t know 27


Rory McIlroy

Likely 19

Not likely 54

Don’t know 28


Phil Mickelson

Likely 24

Not likely 55

Don’t know 22


Danny Willett

Likely 9

Not likely 61

Don’t know 30


Tiger Woods

Likely 21

Not likely 62

Don’t know 17


14. How closely would you say you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

Very closely 19

Closely 41

Not closely 28

Not at all 13

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