NEW ORLEANS -- A new poll from UNO shows that most people in Louisiana want to NFL players protesting the national anthem to be punished in some way.
On Thursday, the University of New Orleans released findings of a statewide study they did on the issue. They asked more than 500 Louisiana voters at random several questions, including if players should be punished for their actions.
"So 525 survey respondents and 57 percent believe that NFL players who protest the national anthem should be penalized whether it's fined or fired," said researcher Tony Licciardi. "What's interesting to me is there are deep racial lines on this topic. 66 percent of black respondents reported that they didn't want to see players fined or fired for it, whereas 34 percent of white respondents said they'd like neither to happen."
Protests during the national anthem are now much bigger than the NFL. Conversations are now starting in High Schools across the United States including in Louisiana.
Parkway High School Principal in Bossier Parish recently released a statement saying student athletes will stand during the anthem. It reads in full:
"To student athletes and parents,
The LHSAA (Louisiana High School Athletic Association) allows school principals to make decisions regarding student participation in the national anthem while competing in athletic contests and games. Parkway High School requires student athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the national anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating. Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal. Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team. Parkway High School is continued to creating a positive environment for sporting events that is free of disruption to the athletic contest or game.
Sincerely, Waylon Bates"
The LHSAA released a statement saying that the decision to penalize players for protesting during the national anthem is up to each school.
"Any/all decisions related to individual(s), and/or team(s) expression(s) exhibited during any pre-event national anthem at a LHSAA regular season and/or post season game, match, meet or contest, will be determined by each individual member school and/or member school's school district," the statement said.
However some parents we spoke with locally say the decision should be made by students.
"It's the right of the American citizen to be able to protest," said Joseph Scott. "It's part of our Constitution. I'm a Vietnam Veteran, highly decorated, I fought for this country. What are they trying to stop them from protesting? They're not protesting the flag or the national anthem. They're protesting for peoples' rights and what the national anthem and flag stand for."
"I don't see where it's disrespecting the flag," said Sarah Coleman. "My husband served 20 years in the military and he doesn't feel it's disrespecting either because we both know why it's being done. It's their choice. They're just like me, you, or anybody else whether they're small or grown. IF they want to take a knee that's their decision."