After one of ESPN’s hosts criticized President Trump on air last month, the network sent out a reminder to its staff that its policy is to avoid politics on air unless they intersect with sports.
That reignited the public debate about the policy, which has been in place at least since former ESPN personality Jamele Hill tweeted harsh criticisms of Trump in 2017.
But how does the American public feel about this policy? CivicScience surveyed more than 1,700 U.S. adults on the issue in late July, and the results are … fairly conclusive.
Only 14% of respondents said they disagreed with the policy. Only 6% were particularly adamant about their disapproval.
Anytime politics are involved, one is tempted to view the issue through the lens of the two major political parties. While it’s true that Republicans were more likely to say they don’t want politics on ESPN, the vast majority of Democrats agreed with them. (Finally, some common ground.)
At first blush, this seems like a savvy move for the Disney-owned sports network. After all, Republicans are more likely to spend more of their time watching sports.
CivicScience did unearth some interesting details regarding the population that disagrees with ESPN’s policy, though. For instance, these people were, on average, more attached to sports than those who like the policy.
Those who disagree with the policy were more likely to belong to a racial minority. However, it’s important to note that majorities of black, Hispanic, and Asian respondents said they agreed with the policy.
Those who want politics on ESPN also tend to be younger.
While members of certain segments of the U.S. population were more likely to have disagreed with ESPN’s “no-politics” policy, it’s clear that the vast majority of Americans — of all stripes — think that it’s best to keep pure politics off of the sports network.