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Why Do We Play The National Anthem Before Games?

By Emily Cutler | Late Night TV | September 1, 2016 |

By Emily Cutler | Late Night TV | September 1, 2016 |

As far as I’m concerned, the best coverage of Colin Kaepernick’s sit down protest during the National Anthem is still Brian’s blistering piece on the inherent hypocrisy and posturing of some of the criticism Kaepernick has received. Yes, he’s free to exercise his First Amendment right to denounce a flag that he sees as representative of oppression of people of color. And yes, others are free to condemn him for his denouncement. But everyone is also free to judge the logic and quality of both arguments. Does Kaepernick have a valid complaint? Are the counterarguments justified? Did you use the word “thug”? Because then you’re a racist. You’re not fooling anyone, we know what “thug” means.

But outside of the protest/counter-protest debate, there is something that seems to have been accepted without question: Why the hell do we play The Star Spangled Banner before sporting events anyway? Stephen filled us in.

Ah, yes, marketing. America’s true pastime!

I understand and believe that some people see the flag and the Anthem as near sacred symbols of American values and sacrifice, and so I can understand why someone disrespecting those symbols would be offensive. What I don’t understand is why those people are equally offended by this:


Or why people who do highly regard the flag and Anthem aren’t pissed off that we’re “honoring” both before an effing MLB game in the first place. How in God’s name is twenty or so men hitting, bouncing, and throwing balls at all related to the deeply held values and beliefs that the country collectively stands for? Because someone could make money off it.

Regardless if you agree with him, Kaepernick understands and respects the importance of the flag. He chose this specific form of protest specifically because he knows the value which people place on those symbols. He’s calling attention to a terrible problem by using the flag’s power against itself. When he sits, it’s because he understands the defiance and repercussions of his actions. Which is significantly more than I can say for whoever sits in front of this flag.