ESPN mouth breather: Why do we play National (aka ‘War’) Anthem before games?

ESPN mouth breather: Why do we play National (aka ‘War’) Anthem before games?

Northwestern uniformThis means war. The reference is a double entendre, denoting both the latest attack on something (anything) sports-related and the “war anthem” routinely played in this country before sporting events. If you’re wondering which war anthem that would be, ESPN “Buy and Sell” panelist Kevin Blackistone is talking about the Star-Spangled Banner (h/t Allahpundit at Hot Air).

The panel discussion centers on the specially designed uniforms to be worn on Nov. 16 by the Northwestern University (football) Wildcats, which were designed by Under Armour to honor the Wounded Warriors Project. The design, which features what many see as a blood-spattered Stars and Stripes, has been assailed as “gore porn.”

Whatever you may think of the design, Blackistone dislikes it or “sells it” in the vernacular of the show, in which “buy” signifies approval and “sell” a thumbs-down. But his comments, which begin around the 0:50 mark in the video, are not limited to the uniform under scrutiny:

If you sell this along with me, you should also be selling the rest of the military symbolism that embraces sports, whether it be the singing of a war anthem to open every game, whether it’s going to get a hot dog and being able to sign up for the army at the same time…. [Emphasis added]

The custom of playing the national anthem at athletic competitions is universal. Witness the playing of the national anthem of the gold medalist’s country of citizenship following events at the Olympics. Most national anthems, moreover, are patriotic hymns that commemorate a nation’s struggle for sovereignty.

Maybe Blackistone is right and that martial music should be struck from sporting events. It would seem, however, that his comments derive from a deeper, left-leaning dislike of the U.S. military in general. In any case, if Blackistone’s commentary is going to devolve into a diatribe against the military and all it stands for, why is he willing to countenance a sport like football, which is as close to hand-to-hand combat as a peaceful enterprise is apt to get?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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