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Ahead of Super Bowl, IAVA Calls on Americans to Listen to Veterans, Not Politicize Them

February 2, 2018 (New York, NY) — This fall, after politicians and celebrities alike evoked veterans to further their political arguments around protests during NFL football games, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, unveiled the findings of the first and most comprehensive national poll of veterans and military personnel on the protests in the NFL. More than 8,000 of IAVA’s 425,000 members nationwide responded to this groundbreaking poll, which overall showed that veterans opinions on the protests span the spectrum.

In advance of the biggest football game of the year, IAVA is highlighting this information for the media and Americans nationwide. The data, available online here, revealed that 98% of service members and veterans polled believe the First Amendment protects the right to peacefully protest. 62% believe NFL players have the right to peacefully protest during a game. It also found that many disagree with both President Trump and the NFL’s response to the protests and that many will boycott the NFL outright. Most polled also felt that many other issues facing America are more urgent right now.

“Ahead of the Super Bowl, America once again is talking about the protests in the NFL. And many people are claiming to speak on behalf of veterans and troops. We wanted to give veterans the opportunity to speak for themselves. The most important takeaway from this groundbreaking data is that there is no monolithic veteran opinion. The opinions of veterans are often as diverse as those of all Americans,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “However, veterans can play a unique and important leadership role in America, especially in moments that test our national unity. We have invaluable experience and perspective–especially around questions of patriotism. We hope this data and our voices will add light to a discussion so far dominated by heat as the world watches the Super Bowl this Sunday. IAVA and our members are standing by to be a voice of perspective, experience and unity. And we are completely committed to doing all that we can help move America forward.”

Methodology: Emails were sent to IAVA’s veteran members inviting them to participate in IAVA’s poll on the NFL protests. The poll was available from 9/30-10/2/17. Over 8,000, service members and veterans participated. The margin of error for this poll is +/- 1.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. This response is the largest that IAVA has seen in our polling history, and represents only data collected from the military and veteran community.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.