In recent sporting events, we’ve seen and heard about player protests, and now, some coaches kneeling during the national anthem. This is causing major distractions to the game.
Here’s an idea: let’s stop playing the national anthem before sporting events.
It is well understood that standing, saluting, or putting our hands over our hearts during the national anthem at a sporting event is what we’re used to, but we didn’t even start playing the anthem until the World War II era. Part of this is due to the lack of recording and amplification in music, but let’s think about what really is at stake by not playing the national anthem.
Would we be dishonoring the country? No.
Would it be an insult to our military, or our flag? No.
“It may be a good idea to stop playing the national anthem in general, but then again, if the [player] doesn’t want to stand during it, I think they should just stay inside the locker room until it’s over,” says Chandler Collins, a student at Salt Lake Community College.
He makes a good point. Some may say the national anthem is played before a sporting event as tribute to those who lost their lives in battle. Professional sports are a type of mock-battle where combats are fought, but there aren’t ever any lives lost. In the face of the uproar about whether to stand, sit, or kneel, it may be better to do away with it all together.
There may not be a reason to honor the NFL, the NBA, NHL, or MLB with the playing of the national anthem. After all, these athletes— who some say are overpaid — aren’t worthy of the national anthem as they are hardly considered role models for our youth. They should insist that the anthem is discontinued, with the possible exception of the Olympic games, which has a national identity.
“Even though these sporting events are a type of battle, I don’t think you can compare a real war zone to a football game,” says Tanner Day, another SLCC student. “I think the playing of the national anthem before games is a good thing, but maybe they should take a poll from the athletes to get their opinion.”
In a statement to Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports said they will no longer air coverage of the national anthem before its NFL games. The network added, “However, our cameras are always rolling and we will document the response of players and coaches on the field.”
This also brings up the point when President Donald Trump called out some of the players who decide to kneel during the anthem in a tweet calling them “sons of bitches.” President Trump also said they should be fired from the league.
If we just stopped playing the national anthem, it would be a logical assumption that this would put an end to all these troubles. We would still have players who silently and peacefully protest, but this will stop all the unnecessary shenanigans, and stick to what the people are paying to see – the game.
In contrast, last June, Tylt, a poll-taking website, asked: Should we stop playing the national anthem before sporting events? A resounding 83.3 percent said the anthem is “a must.” Less than 17 percent voted “games not anthems”. Another poll conducted by Marist University showed even stronger support. Only eight percent of Americans polled said the anthem should not be played at sporting events. History shows that American sports fans like to be patriotically juiced before they watch their favorite teams and athletes head for game time.
This may still continue to cause more controversy if the national anthem is removed before games. Let’s leave it up to the players and coaches to see if this comes to an end, or if the anthem is continued to play and stirs up the pot even more.