The poll also indicated a small but significant shift in public opinion on the mandatory nature of the anthem.

“I saw a big guy who was athletic, but a guy who didn’t play very hard. And I was concerned about that,” said Stiegelmeier, who wasn’t ready to make a full commitment to Goedert. “We asked him to walk on, and he took the bait. The way he’s grown since then is just amazing. He has made himself, coming from that community, into what he is today.”

After two years in the program, Stiegelmeier put Goedert on a 40-percent scholarship. A year after that, he went to 70 percent, then finally, a full ride. On the heels of that came his 2016 breakout season: 92 catches, 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a ridiculous one-handed TD catch against Drake that made an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 list. Referred to around the program simply as “The Drake Catch,” the highlight is now part of the pre-game hype reel on the SDSU video board, ending with Goedert pointing a football — with one hand, of course — into the camera.

Also worth noting: despite the talk of apocalyptic boycotts and ratings doom, the poll found NFL viewership remains both steady and nationwide. The poll indicated that 69 percent of adults watch or follow the sport at least a little; interestingly, that’s up from 56 percent in 2009, when Michael Vick was returning to the NFL after a prison stint for dogfighting.

The HBO/Marist poll surveyed 1,093 Americans, a standard, statistically valid survey size, from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. For more details, the full survey is available online.

Granted, this is one poll, and other polling organizations which use different questions will return different results. But it’s a data point that helps illustrate that public opinion of the protests during the national anthem aren’t nearly as universal as either its supporters or its critics claim.tigers_057-115x115

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