When it comes to the NFL draft, most American football fans aren’t too thrilled if their favorite team ignores a top college prospect’s history of questionable behavior. Most fans oppose their favorite NFL team drafting a player with a history of physical violence against women. Three in four football enthusiasts are also against drafting a prospect with a history of using performance-enhancing drugs. But, many fans nationally say it makes no difference to them if their favorite NFL team drafts a player with a history of using marijuana.
Nearly nine in ten football fans, 87%, say they oppose their favorite NFL team drafting a top college prospect with a history of physical violence against women. Three percent favor recruiting such a player, and 9% say it makes no difference to them. Regardless of demographics, more than eight in ten football fans are against signing a player with a history of physical violence against women.
Football fans nationally, 75%, are also wary about drafting a college football player who has been known to use performance-enhancing drugs. Five percent favor recruiting such a player, and 21% say it makes no difference to them.
Age matters. While 83% of fans 60 years of age or older do not want their team to sign a player with a history of steroid use, fewer fans under 30, 68%, have this view. About three in four fans age 30 to 44 years old, 74%, or 45 to 59 years of age, 73%, also oppose their favorite NFL team drafting a college athlete with a history of using PED’s. Women, 81%, are more likely than men, 69%, to be against selecting a player with a history of such drug use.
This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.
“Football fans are clear on their view of NFL athletes and domestic violence. Physical violence against women is unacceptable, defying the myth that fans will excuse transgressions that don’t impact athletic performance,” says Keith Strudler, Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication. “Conversely, marijuana is hardly a concern among fans, something the league should consider in their own codes of conduct.”
Marijuana use, though, is far less troubling to football fans. Nearly six in ten, 59%, say it makes no difference to them if their favorite NFL team drafts a top college prospect with a history of using marijuana. 28% oppose picking such a player while 14% favor such a selection.
Opinions differ based on age. Younger Americans under 30 years of age, 16%, are the least likely to oppose signing a college football player with a history of using marijuana. Those 60 and older, 43%, are the most likely to be against such a draft pick. Still, 45% of the nation’s oldest fans say they do not care if their NFL team selects a player with a history of marijuana use. Women, 34%, are more likely than men, 23%, to be concerned with selecting such a player. But, even a majority of women, 53%, say it makes no difference to them if their favorite team signs a player who has used marijuana.
How many Americans are football fans? 67% of Americans say they watch, at least a little, of the sport. 34% report they do not watch any football.
Turning to politics, do American sports fans differ in their political views? When it comes to the rating the job President Donald Trump is doing as president, NASCAR fans, 50%, are more likely than other sports fans to say they approve. With the exception of NASCAR, at least half of fans of other sports, disapprove of how Trump is performing. Basketball fans, 62%, and tennis fans, 61%, are the fans most likely to disapprove of President Trump’s performance in office. Among Americans, overall, 37% approve, and 51% disapprove.
NASCAR fans, 49%, are the only sports fans to give President Trump a favorable score which is right-side up. Many basketball fans, 62%, and tennis fans, 60%, have an unfavorable impression of the president. Majorities of football fans, 56%, and baseball fans, 53%, also have a negative view of Trump. Hockey fans divide with 49% saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the president and 46% reporting they have a positive one. President Trump’s favorable score is upside down, 37% to 54%, among Americans overall.
Looking at some of the hot-button issues facing the nation, at least a majority of sports fans think Congress should let the Affordable Care Act stand as it is or expand it so that it does more. Basketball fans, 73%, and tennis fans, 73%, are more likely than other fans to have this view. NASCAR fans, 57%, and hockey fans, 60%, are less likely. Of note, 35% of NASCAR fans and 30% of hockey fans think Obamacare should be completely repealed. 64% of American residents report the ACA should either remain in its current form, 18%, or change so it does more, 46%. 33% believe Obamacare should be adjusted so that it does less, 7%, or be completely repealed, 26%.
About eight in ten sports fans support providing a Pathway to Citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, if those immigrants meet certain criteria. Among residents nationally, 83% favor a Pathway to Citizenship while 15% oppose it.
Regarding President Trump’s executive order to limit entrance to the United States of non-American citizens from six majority-Muslim countries, a majority of NASCAR fans, 58%, favor the president’s action. At least half of other sports fans, with the exception of hockey fans who divide, 47% to 49%, oppose the president’s order. Tennis fans, 61%, and basketball fans, 60%, are the most likely sports fans to oppose President Trump’s executive action.