The national anthem has been at the forefront of our country’s discussion on racial inequality for years now, due in no small part to the actions of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick popularized kneeling during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner during the the twilight of his career in the league, for the stated purpose of drawing attention to what he believed was systemic racial injustice in the United States. His signature protest would soon spread throughout the NFL and beyond, and was an appalling act of disrespect for many.
Now, just a few short years later, with Kaepernick no longer in the NFL, the anthem is coming under renewed scrutiny as the American people revisit race relations in 2020.
The latest undulation of this unrest has now seen at least one American sports team opt out of playing the song at their events.
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Tulsa Athletic, of the National Premier Soccer League, announced Wednesday that in order to create a more inclusive environment it will change the song. The team said it decided on making the change after reviewing the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“After carefully reviewing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ lyrics and meaning, including the third verse which mentions ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…,’ Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values. While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community,” the team said in a press release.
In its place, Tulsa Athletic will play Woody Guthrie’s patriotic hit “This Land is Your Land”.
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