Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The National Anthem and sporting events: Why?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 7:28 AM

click to enlarge SYMBOLISM: Debate about Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem is nothing compared with the black power salute of U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • SYMBOLISM: Debate about Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem is nothing compared with the black power salute of U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics.
For your consideration: A New York Times article that delves into the American tradition of playing the national anthem before sporting events.

It's not routinely played to start most work days in most workplaces (though it is in some places, a New York department store I've visited, for one). But it is routine at games if you are an outfielder, a hockey goalie, a quarterback, etc. at every level of sport. The playing of the anthem is unheard of in other countries on the athletic fields. 

The article suggests that our country's unity  around a creed makes its symbols ripe for use in protest. Professional sports have generally played the anthem since the 1940s, traditions dating to during and immediately after World War II. Colin Kaepernick was not the first to avail himself of the opportunity to make a statement.

Is sitting for the national anthem, as Saints quarterback Drew Brees said in his criticism of Kaepernick’s actions, “being disrespectful to the American flag”? Is it, as Brees continued, “an oxymoron” that Kaepernick is sitting down because it is the anthem, and the flag, that give him the right to speak in the first place?

Or is it the reverse: that the contradiction comes from those who trumpet the freedoms the flag represents but then criticize someone who exercises those freedoms? Is Kaepernick simply doing his duty, as Schurz said, by trying to set right that which he sees in his country as having gone awry?
I suspect opinions are divided on the question.

PS: Every time the mob starts howling for the head of someone who doesn't stand for the National Anthem or refuses to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, I like to recall the famous Arkansas case in which freedom to make such expressions were constitutionally protected. Here you can find a famous speech Dale Bumpers made against a flag desecration amendment on the subject. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote eloquently in a similar West Virginia case:

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of National Anthem, Colin Kaepernick

Comments (25)

Showing 1-25 of 25

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 25

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Forget identity politics

    Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Most Viewed

  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Standing Rock protests bear fruit as Army Corps announces pipeline reroute

    A victory for the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies may only be temporary. President-elect Donald Trump has yet to weigh in.
  • The Arkansas legislature, SCOTUS and the 'normalization of influence peddling'

    Lobbyists routinely hosting "planned events" for legislators is insidious exactly because no one involved — neither lobbyists nor legislators — perceive their actions as wrong.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation