Should the national anthem be banned from sporting events?
via AP

Should the national anthem be banned from sporting events?

Join the conversation and vote below

The California NAACP is calling for the end of the national anthem before sporting events. The tradition began in major league baseball during World War I and quickly spread to all other sports after World War II. But with so many athletes kneeling, some are asking what "The Star-Spangled Banner" has to do with football—or any sporting event. Others believe the anthem is an important patriotic ritual honoring those who sacrificed their lives so we can watch a game. What do you think? 🇺🇸 🏈

The Votes Are In!

At the New York Times, Sam Borden wonders why don't we sing the national anthem at movies or concerts, for example? You'd never see "God Save The Queen" played at a British soccer game. Non-Americans think we're totally weird. What does football have to do with patriotism, being American, or the troops?

Why is the national anthem a staple of sporting events to begin with? Why does the United States stand apart in making the anthem a part of the pregame ritual? No national anthems are played before a French league soccer game or a German handball league game or a Japanese rugby game. So why does the connection exist in the United States?


The president of the United States is not required to listen to the national anthem before beginning his day, but Jay Bruce must hear it before taking the field as an outfielder for the Mets.

Eric Liu, former speechwriter and adviser to President Bill Clinton, says America’s distinctive foundation maybe why we hold the anthem in such high regard and incorporate it into our sporting events.

Unlike a majority of countries in the world, the United States was not created on a common platform of religion or ancestry. Rather, Americans are bound by notions and concepts, and when some perceive some Americans as violating those agreed-upon concepts, it threatens their foundation. Here is Liu with more.

I think that’s why this whole thing strikes so many people in such a passionate way. This is not a country in Europe or Asia that has the traditional patriotic ideas built into it. We are united by a creed, and in a creedal society, the outsize rituals — like the anthem — just carry a lot more weight.

Isn't the very idea of being compelled to sing a song against your will contradictory to American values? Can you be a patriot and still have big problems with America?

Love it or leave it. Not singing the anthem is seen by some as being a total traitor.

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