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White fans like white NFL players more and black players less since anthem protests

January 22, 2019
a line of eight professional football players, three of them kneeling on one kneeMiami Dolphins players kneel during the national anthem before their game against the Carolina Panthers in November 2017. (Getty Images photo)
Bethany Lacina

Bethany Lacina, associate professor of political science.
(University of Rochester photo / Merideth Hallissey)

White Americans prefer white NFL stars over black ones—a preference that’s become more pronounced since the 2016 season, when some black players began protesting during the national anthem, and later, when President Donald Trump condemned players for their actions. 

Among white fans without a college education, black players’ popularity dropped even if a particular black player did not participate in the protest, concludes Bethany Lacina, an associate professor of political science at the University of Rochester. 

Lacina bases her findings on annual survey data by Q Scores, which measures NFL players’ public appeal. She summarizes them on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage.

Lacina’s main research interests cover international relations, comparative politics, conflict, and Indian politics. The author of Rival Claims: Ethnic Violence and Territorial Autonomy under Indian Federalism (University of Michigan Press, 2017), Lacina is an expert in civil and ethnic conflict, especially disputes over territorial autonomy. Her latest book—Nativism and Economic Integration Across the Developing World: Collision and Accommodation (Cambridge University Press, 2018), co-authored with Rikhil R. Bhavnani from the University of Wisconsin—looks at ethnic groups’ fighting over migration and nativism.

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Category: Voices & Opinion

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