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Seton Hall Sports Poll Featured in NY Daily News, ESPN, Miami Herald and More  

sports pollingThe findings from the most recent Seton Hall Sports Poll were featured by the New York Daily News, Sports Business Journal, ESPN, the Miami Herald and in media outlets across America, including in Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Washington and California. An older finding (on Name, Image and Likeness rights for college athletes) was featured in Notre Dame magazine. Stillman Professor Charles Grantham, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, was featured in CNBC.

In the NY Daily News (which was reprinted by the Sports Business Journal), the article focused on the Poll's findings regarding the use of Native American names by Major League Baseball teams, specifically the Cleveland team which has changed its name and the Atlanta team which has not.

The article, "American sports fans support dropping 'Indians' name, split on tomahawk chop: poll," noted that

No matter how the ongoing MLB lockout is resolved, the 2022 season is guaranteed to look a little different in at least one way. The team in Cleveland will start the season with their first game under the Guardians name. The franchise operated as the Indians from 1915-2021. But the shifting sensibility of modern society, increased pressure on the team to ditch their racial logos and nicknames and frankly, common sense, created the new name.

A recent nationwide study by Seton Hall University revealed, unsurprisingly, a country that's divided on this topic.

The Poll reported that: Americans are divided on Cleveland’s decision to drop "Indians" from its name, with 38 percent of the general public in favor of the change and 37 percent opposed – 25 percent said they either did not know or did not have an opinion.

Among self-described sports fans, however, a majority favored the move away from the "Indians" name. The Poll found that: "Among sports fans the divided balance shifted in favor of a name change for the Cleveland baseball team. Among self-described "avid fans," 50 percent favored ridding the team of its reference to Native Americans while 33 percent opposed. Among sports fans in general, 44 percent favored the culturally sensitive move while 37 percent opposed. The rest ventured no opinion or did not know."

The NY Daily News (and Sports Business Journal) also reported on the Poll's findings regarding the Atlanta Braves, who have not committed to changing their name, and the "Tomahawk Chop."

The Daily News notes:

The poll also asked about the Atlanta Braves, whose name — and particularly its ubiquitous Tomahawk Chop — have been criticized for being racist to Native Americans. Only 23% of the people polled said the Braves should change their name. Forty-nine percent of the voting body said no, and the sports fans agreed. A slight majority (51%) of the people who identify as sports fans said the Braves should not change their name. Avid fans were split 50-50.

And regarding the Tomahawk Chop:

Responses were also fairly even on the Tomahawk Chop. Thirty-eight percent of the voters said that the Braves should stop encouraging fans' participation in the Chop, which they normally do by lowering the lights in the stadium and playing music that echoes the Chop's lazy rhythm. Those people were outweighed by the 41% who said the Braves should not stop encouraging it. There were also the 21% of people who said they didn’t know or care about what the Braves did about it. Sports fans narrowly voted "No" on the issue of the Braves stopping the Chop. Forty-two percent of them think the Atlanta organization should not stop its role in keeping the celebration alive, while 41% said they should.

ESPN also focused on the MLB Native American team name findings and the Tomahawk Chop, noting that

Respondents in a new national Seton Hall Sports Poll released Thursday are nearly evenly divided about Cleveland dropping "Indians," while opposed (by 45%-26%) to its new "Guardians" name. They're also split on whether Atlanta should stop encouraging the "tomahawk chop," but opposed (49%-23%) to any name change from "Braves."

The Miami Herald (along with the Sun Herald, Modesto Bee, Myrtle Beach Online, Island Packet and a slew of other McClatchey syndicated regional newspapers) featured the Poll's findings on the public's feelings regarding attendance at sporting events in light of COVID. The article, "Another COVID Christmas: Tips on how to stay safe this time around," noted that:

Health experts have said that sporting events — especially if crowded and indoors — are potential breeding grounds for COVID-19 because the virus is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and others breathe in those droplets. "I would definitely avoid those if possible," Roberts told the Hartford Courant. "Many people are unmasked at those gatherings, they're crunched close together, everybody is sort of shouting at the team and aerosolizing the virus and spreading it all over. So I think that’s a risky endeavor." That said, interest in attending a sporting event indoors has only decreased slightly from May 2021 to now, from 59% to 55%, according to the Seton Hall University Sports Poll.

Although just a small decrease, as noted further in the Poll's release, this was the first downward movement for this question since the Poll began asking in April of 2020 – soon after the pandemic started.

Looking at the charted results of seven different polls asking this question: "The data is clear, and it’s disturbing," said Seton Hall Marketing Professor and Poll Methodologist Daniel Ladik. "The question remains if this is a blip or the beginning of a downward trend and a return to more challenging times for sports and the country."

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