Seton Hall Sports Poll Reveals Nation Sides with Obama’s Caution on Sons Playing Football vs. Trump’s Feeling that ‘Head on Tackles are Incredible to Watch’

Fans Who Say they Watch Less Football Cite National Anthem Protest as Principal Reason

South Orange, NJ, November 17, 2016 — This week’s Seton Hall Sports Poll, asked Americans how they felt about the concussion/head injury issue in football.

People were asked if they most agreed with President Obama’s feelings about having to think twice about letting a son play football, or President-elect Trump’s statement that head-on-tackles in the NFL are incredible to watch and the league has gone too soft on the issue of head injuries. 59% agreed with the Obama position while only 23% agreed with the Trump statement.

By gender, women agreed with Obama over Trump by 66%-17%, and men agreed with Obama by 52%-29%.

“That is a decisive margin, and belies the embrace the nation’s voters show for Trump’s generally tough stances,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.

The results came from the poll conducted this week among 913 landline and cellphone adult users across the US. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.3%.

Meanwhile, the poll asked respondents if they were watching less football, and if so, asked for reasons. 25% cited the protests during the national anthem, 10% said the match-ups aren’t as good, 10% cited too many commercial interruptions, 8% said “too many games on TV,” and 3% said “more interested in election.” 44% indicated either another choice (unnamed) or no opinion.

As for Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco quarterback who triggered the national anthem protests, 50% expressed disapproval over his deciding not to vote in the presidential election, with only 14% showing approval. Only 30% of African-Americans disapproved compared to 58% of white respondents.

By a 2-1 margin (61% to 30%), respondents citied the Trump election victory as more surprising than the Chicago Cubs world championship. The Cubs, of course, had not won in 108 years – but no American president had ever gained the presidency from a business and non-political (or wartime) background.

The poll also asked who would be a better role model, 29% said college athletes, 21% said pro athletes, and 9% said politicians. It is worth noting that 42% said “none” or “don’t know” without those selections being offered by pollsters.



There was good news for Major League Baseball amongst the findings – 19% the country said that the Cubs victory made them more interested in following baseball.

“For any sports league to have a single event that might turn that many people into more avid fans is a remarkable achievement,” said Gentile.  “At first glance, one might say, ‘well, it’s only 19%’, but in raw numbers – a fifth of the population is a tremendous number for MLB.”

Rick Gentile will be interviewed by Seth Everett for a podcast on the poll’s findings.



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 November 14-16 among 913 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 3.4 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.

Media: Media: Marty Appel Public Relations,;
Seton Hall Associate Director of Media Relations,
Office Phone: 973-378-9845

Cell Phone: 862-520-9639


The results


  1. Whom do you think make better role models, politicians, professional athletes or collegiate athletes?
  2. Politicians 9%
  3. Pro athletes 21
  4. College athletes 29
  5. None 35
  6. Don’t know 7


  1. Which event would you say surprised you the most, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series or Donald Trump winning the presidential election?
  2. Cubs 30
  3. Trump 61
  4. Neither 5
  5. Don’t know 3


  1. Has the Cubs’ victory in the World Series made you more interested in following baseball?
  2. Yes 19
  3. No 77
  4. Don’t know 4


  1. President Obama has said if he had a son he would have to think twice about letting him play football because of potential head injuries. President-elect Trump has said head-on tackles in the NFL are incredible to watch and the league has gone too soft on the issue of head injuries. Which position do you most agree with?
  2. Obama 59
  3. Trump 23
  4. Neither 10
  5. Don’t know 8


  1. Why have you watched fewer NFL games? Please pick your main reason from the following.
  2. Match-ups aren’t as good 10
  3. Too many games on TV 8
  4. More interested in the election 3
  5. Too many commercial interruptions 10
  6. The protests during the national anthem 25
  7. Other 37
  8. Don’t know  7


  1. Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who sparked the national anthem protests, refused to vote in the recent Presidential Election, also in protest. Do you approve, disapprove or have no opinion about this decision?
  2. Approve 14
  3. Disapprove 50
  4. No Opinion 36







Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.