Just two days before this year's Super Bowl, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Americans are sharply divided on whether they would encourage a child who wanted to play football to choose a different sport because of growing concerns about concussions.
The poll found that 48 percent of Americans say they'd prefer the child to play a different sport — up 8 points from a similar poll taken four years ago. It found that 49 percent would not try to talk their child out of playing football.
- 46 percent of parents with a child would discourage football — up 9 points since 2014.
- 53 percent of mothers — up 13 points — and 39 percent of fathers — up 6 points – would discourage football.
- 33 percent of Americans believe the National Football League has tried to reduce and prevent concussions — down from 41 percent in 2014.
- 28 percent said the NFL had not done enough — an 8-point increase since 2014.
The poll comes after findings of brain disease in deceased NFL football players, and after a spate of players refusing to stand for the national anthem.
It shows a decline in those who say they closely follow professional football:
- 49 percent say they follow the NFL closely, down 9 points from the last poll.
- 51 percent say they don't follow it closely, a 9-point increase.
The biggest declines in NFL followers are in groups making up much of Trump's political base, including whites, white men and men without college degrees. Trump has blasted NFL players for taking part in the protests.
The telephone poll of 900 adults was taken Jan. 13 to 17. It has a margin of error 3.3 percentage points.
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