Monthly Archives: November 2017

Nearly Three-Quarters Say Pres. Trump Should Stay Out of NFL Anthem Controversy; Nearly Two Thirds Say Keeping Players in Locker Room Not an Effective Strategy

Orange, NJ, November 30, 2017 — A Seton Hall Sports Poll has found that 71% of Americans would like President Trump to stay out of the NFL controversy surrounding the protest actions of players during the national anthem. 23% say he should continue to comment.

Just a month ago, 37% felt it was appropriate for the President to get involved in the issue, when the question was posed regarding his call for a petition to support standing for the anthem.

“That represents a rather dramatic decline in just 30 days regarding the President’s personal involvement,” said Poll Director Rick Gentile.  “The 37% support last month was in line with his general support on most issues.  It could certainly indicate that the public wants to say ‘enough!’”

The poll was taken this week (November 27-29) across the nation, on both landlines and cell phones, with randomly placed telephone calls.  The poll is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.  There were 719 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

The poll asked if keeping players in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem next season would be an effective way for the NFL to deal with the controversy.  63% said no, and 27% said yes.

The Poll also asked whether people intended to purchase any NFL merchandise this holiday season, with 20% saying yes and 74% saying no.  Of those saying yes a fifth said they were affected by the current controversies, and of those saying no, a third were affected by the controversies.

As for the rehiring of Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner, only 19% felt his contract should be extended, while double that — 39% — said the NFL should look for a new commissioner.  42% didn’t know or had no opinion.  As for the rehiring of Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner, only 19% felt his contract should be extended, while double that – 39%  – said the NFL should look for a new commissioner.  42% didn’t know or had no opinion.  Among those saying they were African-American, 43% were in favor of his contract being extended, while only 15% of whites were so inclined.

The Poll also asked whether the current method for determining the college football championship is fair to all qualifying NCAA schools.  34% said yes, 23% no, with 43% indicating “don’t know” or not having an opinion.

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing these topics with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at


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 27-29 among 719 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 3.8 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,;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall, 908-447-3034

The results:

1. Several NFL owners have proposed a rule stating all players remain in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem next season to avoid on field protests and the reactions to them.  Do you think this would be an effective way for the NFL to deal with the controversy?

Yes 27%

No 63

Don’t know/No opinion   9

2. President Trump originally said all NFL players protesting during the playing of the anthem should be fired and now he is criticizing this new owners’ proposal. Do you think the President should continue to comment on this subject or stay out of the controversy?

Continue to comment 23

Stay out of it 71

Don’t know/No opinion   6

3. The NFL is currently negotiating a very lucrative contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Do you think Goodell deserves to have his contract extended or should the owners be looking for a new commissioner?

Extend contract 19

Look for replacement 39

Don’t know/No opinion 42

4. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has positioned himself as a direct adversary to Commissioner Goodall in opposing the contract extension. Do you think his stance is good for the NFL, bad for the NFL or makes no difference?

Good for the NFL 17

Bad for the NFL 13

Makes no difference 44

Don’t know/No opinion 26

5. Do you intend to purchase any NFL merchandise this holiday season?

Yes 20

No 74

Don’t know   6

6. Is the ongoing controversy over players kneeling during the anthem affecting your decision regarding purchasing NFL merchandise?

Yes 27

No 69

Don’t know/No opinion   4

7. Do you think the current method for determining the college football championship is fair to all qualifying NCAA schools?

Yes 34

No 23

Don’t know/No opinion 43


How closely would you say you follow sports, Very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

Very closely 22

Closely 35

Not closely 29

Not at all 14



Sports Poll Featured in New York Times, Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes and More

The Seton Hall Sports Poll was featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes and literally hundreds of other media outlets across the United States.Seton Hall Sports Poll

In Forbes, Sports Poll results were part of an article entitled, “NFL Anthem Protests Continue to Smack League’s Broadcasters and Sponsors.” The article was written by Mike Oznanian who, in addition to being Associate Managing Editor at Forbes, is co-host and Managing Editor of Forbes SportsMoney, a television show which appears on the YES Network and Fox Sports 1.

In Investor’s Business Daily, the Sports Poll’s Director, Rick Gentile, was cited regarding the decrease in NFL viewership and the Sports Poll’s findings that roughly 30% of those who are watching less professional football cite the anthem protests as the reason. “Companies Beware: Partisan Politics And Branding Don’t Mix.”

Sports Poll findings also appeared in The New York Times and at least a hundred other media outlets via a Reuters news agency article. The article, “Owner of NFL’s Texans sorry for ‘inmates’ comment on protesting players,” used the Poll’s most recent findings on the NFL’s anthem protests within the context of remarks made about the protests by an NFL team owner. The article, syndicated and appearing in media outlets such as Yahoo, ESPN and a number of local and regional radio and TV stations such as AM 1660 The Fan, Duke FM of Fargo and 96.3 Jack FM of Nashville, notes:

A Seton Hall University poll on Friday found 47 percent of respondents believe the NFL should order players to stand during the anthem, while 42 percent do not.

Most people, by a 55-to-37 percent margin, also said it was inappropriate for Trump to launch a recent petition on the Republican National Committee website saying the players should stand.

You can see the article, “Owner of NFL’s Texans sorry for ‘inmates’ comment on protesting players,” as it appeared in The New York Times.

In the Washington Post, the Sports Poll and its director were featured in an article entitled “Midway through NFL season, football ratings are down.”

Regarding ratings, the article notes:

Professor Rick Gentile“It’s certainly not cause for panic,” said Rick Gentile, a former CBS Sports executive and now a Seton Hall University professor, “but they like to keep going up.”

The article also notes that,

Asked about the impact of the protests, NFL spokesman Alex Riethmiller said the league believes the ratings drop is part of a broader trend in television consumption instead of a single issue or controversy.

Yet Gentile, who runs a nationwide poll on sports issues for Seton Hall, said his surveys show differently.

“I was in denial for a while,” he said, “but every time we asked the question, ‘why do you watch fewer games?’ it came back the same way — the protests.”

In the last week of September, Seton Hall’s poll of 850 people found that half were watching the same number of football games they watched in the past. Twenty-nine percent said they watched fewer games, 5 percent said they watched more and the remainder didn’t know. Of the people who watched fewer games, 47 percent said it was because of the protests, by far the most frequent reason cited.

In addition to the Washington Post, the article, a syndicated Top News story from the Associated Press, appeared on ABC News, Fox Business, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, the Miami Herald and hundreds of others including the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Indiana’s Journal Gazette, The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, The Connecticut Post, Minnesota’s Star Tribune, The Reading Eagle and far too many more to list.

You can see the article, “Midway through NFL season, football ratings are down,” as it appeared in the Washington Post.

You can see here the most recent sports poll, which included questions that gauged the public pulse on safety issues in youth football, replacing baseball umpires with computers and the abundance of home runs in Major League Baseball in addition to the questions on the NFL’s anthem protests.

Professor Charles Grantham in The Undefeated and Wharton Business Radio on Athlete Anthem Protests

Professor Charles Grantham, director of the Center for Sport Management, was featured in The Undefeated and on Wharton Business Radio on Sirius XM.

Grantham, who is the former Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, published an essay in The Undefeated entitled, “Unions had better start doing their jobs to protect NFL players’ rights.”

In the essay, Grantham writes:

Colin Kaepernick’s act of protest in the backdrop of a presidential election, and now administration, where race is front and center has created a firestorm with regard to racial attitudes and relations in America.

The protest, using sports as the platform, has opened a conversation that is long overdue in America, and each day more people are brought into the debate offering support or disagreeing with the protest. Whatever your opinion, the‎re is still an “uncomfortable silence” from the segment of the sports community that can actually effect the very change Kaepernick, NFL players and other athletes are seeking….

Any solution to this protest will require the commissioners‎ and union leaders in both sports to demonstrate the courage currently displayed by the athletes and the bold thinking required to change status quo. While management and labor are most often adversaries, they are financial partners in a defined revenue sharing/salary cap business model because of the collective bargaining agreement. Thus, the biggest challenge to leadership on both sides of the aisle is to determine when and how outside forces affect revenue and franchise values.

Read more of “Unions had better start doing their jobs to protect NFL players’ rights.”

On the Sirius XM Wharton School of Business radio show, “Knowledge@Wharton,” host Dan Loney led a roundtable discussion on the anthem protests as well as the rights and relative business interests of both players and owners. Along with Professor Grantham, the show featured Wharton Professor Emeritus and CEO of Global Sports Institute, Ken Shropshire; and Andrew Brandt, director of the Center for Sports Law at Villanova and NFL business analyst for ESPN.

You can hear the show in its entirety here.