Most Americans support political expression from athletes

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--From kneeling during the National Anthem to declining visits to the White House, a new study finds most of Americans support professional athletes expressing their political views.

The Pew Research Center surveyed nearly 7,000 panelists from different political leanings and races.

Panelists were asked on their beliefs if it is acceptable for professional athletes to speak out publicly about political issues. 62% stated it was "somewhat" or "very" acceptable for professional athletes to speak out publicly while just 35% stated it was "not too" or "not at all" acceptable.

Younger adults were more likely to support speaking out compared to those 50-years-old or older. Black Americans (79%) were also more likely to express support compared to 56% of white adults.

Those totals were nearly the same when it came to a panelist's political values. 80% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents believed it was very or somewhat acceptable compared to Republicans or Republican-leaning voters (58%) who believe it is "not too" or "not at all" acceptable.

The study also found while a majority supported athletes expressing their views on political issues, it wasn't important to people if athletes chose to go that route or forego expression. Just 22% of panelists said it was somewhat or very important for athletes to share political beliefs compared to 52% who felt its not too or not at all important.

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