Study Shows That American’s Political Opinions Influence Their Opinions on Sports

A study by researchers at the Ohio State University found that Americans opinions on sports often have a connection to their race, political allegiances and ethnicity. The researchers collected data from Taking America’s Pulse 2016 Class Survey, examining opinions from 1461 Americans.

Researchers put their focus on two topics. One was whether college athletes should be paid. The other was if it was okay for pro athletes to kneel while the national anthem played as a sign of protest against racial injustice. Researchers found an 82% difference when it came to their opinions on kneeling. The participants’ beliefs influenced these differences on Black Lives Matter (BLM), race, voting intentions and political allegiances.

According to study co-author Chris Knoester, sports are not a neutral ground and have become part of culture wars.

Rachel Allison, another study co-author and an associate professor of sociology at Mississippi State University, says that politics in sports is not a new thing. Historically, sports have ways been heavily impacted by politics.

Race influenced opinions on sports

Researchers found that opinions on sports were influenced by race. For instance, more white Americans opposed paying college athletes (69%). About 73% of them were against kneeling during the national anthem. 

About 29% of black Americans were against paying college athletes, while 32% opposed kneeling. Latinos and other minority groups were more supportive than white Americans, though not as black Americans.

Non-sport and sports opinions are often related 

When quizzing the respondents about matters outside sports, researchers found that their answers were similar to their views on sports. The questions asked included their thoughts on equality and educational opportunities for black, Latino and white students and their opinions on BLM.

Results showed that white Americans that oppose BLM and believe minorities had more educational opportunities had a 75% probability of being against the payment of college athletes and an 85% chance of being against kneeling. Most of these people identified as conservatives.

 Black Americans that support BLM and believe minorities did not get as many advantages had a 28% and 21% chance of opposing payments of college students and kneeling, respectively. Most of them identified as liberals.

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