Max Kellerman, co-host of ESPN’s scream-fest “First Take,” likes him some attention. Therefore, I wasn’t too surprised when he tried to make the point back in 2017 that playing the national anthem before games was “injecting politics” into sports.
This, of course, was in the early days of the Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy. During a segment on the show, Kellerman said the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback “did not go looking for a protest. It came to him.”
“He was asked to stand for the national anthem,” Kellerman said. “You do not have to stand for the national anthem. And even if it was a rule that you did, is that Colin Kaepernick injecting politics into the NFL? No. That’s the NFL injecting politics by playing the national anthem and putting pressure on you to stand for it in the first place.”
Kellerman has had plenty of hot takes since then, so why did this one stick in my craw so long? Part of it is the gall of it — the idea that merely asking someone to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” or playing it at games was inherently problematic and making a point. This was a curious argument, one that I was sure wasn’t going to get revived by anyone who didn’t have a daily show for which to fill up air time.
Alas, this is 2020 and I’ve been proven wrong yet again in a deeply unpleasant way.
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“Tulsa Athletic’s mission is to create an inclusive community through the game of soccer,” the news release read.
“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.”
Official Club statement regarding our announcement of playing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land” before home matches.
— Tulsa-Athletic (@TTownSoccer) June 24, 2020