Kneeling in the NFL Makes Headlines Again; Survey Shows What Millennials Think
Dr. Alex McFarland: Influenced by Culture and Role Models, Young People Formulating Thoughts, Passions and Opinions
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—NFL player protests during the national anthem continued this past weekend, albeit to a lesser degree, but Vice President Mike Pence took a stand of his own Sunday by walking out of the Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game when several players kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag or our National Anthem,” Pence said in a statement Sunday. “At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”
Dr. Alex McFarland (www.AlexMcFarland.com) has been weighing in on the protest controversy that has divided many Americans, reminding, for example, that young football fans look up to their favorite players, emulate them and copy their actions.
Now, a survey shows how millennials view the protests, with a slight majority supporting the athletes’ actions. Late last week, the Washington Post cited the GenForward Survey, which found that 54 percent of young people say that kneeling during the national anthem is acceptable. When race is taken into account, the numbers vary greatly.
“In general, young people are finding their way and discovering who they are,” McFarland said. “They can be heavily influenced by media, culture and their peers. But they also take to heart beliefs by their parents, teachers and professors, and pastors and church leaders, who can speak truth into the most controversial societal issues of today. These are teachable moments, when we can talk to millennials about respect, commitment to country, a knowledge of history and what our actions say to those who built this nation and fought and died for our freedoms. Yes, they also fought for the freedoms of peaceful protest—all the more reason we should stand for the flag and national anthem, regardless of our age, background or place in society.”
The GenForward survey found that 76 percent of African-American young people approve of the protests, along with 61 percent of Latinos, 54 percent of Asian-Americans and 47 percent of white millennials.
McFarland noted that the latest data on millennials was tallied a year ago, and many of those young respondents have likely changed their opinion of the protests, perhaps toward a more supportive view.
Of the general population, 55 percent of voters see kneeling during the national anthem as an inappropriate form of protest, according to a Fox News poll. That’s down six percentage points from 61 percent who felt that way a year ago.
McFarland is the author of 20 books, including “Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home,” co-authored with Jason Jimenez, which explores why millennials are leaving the church, as well as “The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity,” a guide for parents on how to answer the hardest queries about faith and culture.