9/18: Majority Calls Foul on NFL Response to Domestic Violence Cases, but Only Three in Ten Want Goodell to Go

In the wake of several cases of alleged domestic violence by professional football players, 53% of Americans, including 57% of football fans, think the National Football League has dropped the ball in handling the situation.  Still, only 29% of Americans and 32% of fans believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should lose his job.  43% of residents and 46% of fans do not want him to resign as commissioner.

In light of the controversy swirling around Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson, Americans also weighed in on whether or not it is wrong for parents to use corporal punishment to discipline their children.  60% of Americans, including 67% of women, do not think it is an appropriate way to discipline children.  34% of residents think it is an appropriate action for a parent to take, including 51% of Americans who live in the South.  In other regions of the country, only about one-quarter of residents agree.

Awareness of the NFL controversy over domestic violence is widespread.  86% of Americans, including 93% of football fans, have heard, at least, something about the accusations of domestic violence by NFL players.  About one in ten football fans, 11%, says the recent news about the NFL has made them less likely to watch the sport.  86% of football fans say their viewing habits will be unchanged.

 Complete September 18, 2014 USA NBC News/Marist Poll

 Poll points:

  • 53% of Americans disapprove of how the NFL has handled the domestic violence accusations against some of its players while 27% approve.  21% are unsure.  Among football fans, 57% say the League should have responded differently, and 30% report the NFL’s response has been on the mark.  14% are unsure.
  • When it comes to Goodell’s future, 29% of Americans want Goodell to resign.  43% think he should retain his position, and a notable 29% are unsure.  Among football fans, 32% believe Goodell should step down, 46% want him to remain commissioner, and 21% are unsure.
  • Looking at the impact this controversy has had on NFL viewership, 85% of residents, including 86% of football fans, say it has not changed the amount of football they watch.  However, 12% of Americans, including 11% of fans, report they are less likely to tune into NFL games.
  • While 60% of Americans, including 59% of football fans, report it is not acceptable to discipline their children by hitting them with a paddle, switch, or belt, 34% of residents say it is.  35% of football fans are among those who condone corporal punishment.
  • Looking at gender, 67% of women and 52% of men disapprove of physically reprimanding their children.
  • 51% of residents in the South believe corporal punishment is appropriate compared with 27% in the West, 25% in the Midwest, and 20% in the Northeast.
  • 86% have heard, at least, a little about the recent controversy involving the NFL, including 93% of football fans.
  • 71% of Americans describe themselves as football fans, including 77% of men who watch at least a little professional football and 65% of women.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables