Dallas Stars entered needless controversy by getting involved in Anthem-gate
In posting an unnecessary statement in support of the national anthem, the Dallas Stars may have unwittingly ignored the consequences. (Photo by Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
If a hymn is sung before a sporting event but nobody in the building is allowed to hear it, does it matter?
In the recent “controversy” that has animated the minds of sports fans as we continue to understand that sport is being played in a pandemic, the theme of national anthems is played before the games. Many sports have been deserted (mostly) for the last few months before the venues, but you can still hear renditions of the US and Canadian anthems played before the games.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made headlines when he announced that his team would not play the American national anthem before the Games, a policy he’d put in place since the season began.
It wasn’t long before the NBA stepped in and said they had to, and the teams started showing up for the games. Some argue that it may have completely wiped out any social currency they won by allowing players to protest in last season’s bubble.
“We respect and have always respected the passion that people have for the anthem and our country,” said the Cuban in a statement following the NBA’s decision. “But we also hear aloud the voices of those who believe that the anthem does not represent them. We believe their voices need to be respected and heard because they weren’t. “
The Mavs didn’t get much support from their Dallas counterpart, the Stars, either.
The stars had no problem getting involved, despite the split rooted in the story of their anthem; From extended texts reflecting a time when slavery still existed to its days as a means of protest – most recently by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Here is the most egregious consequence of her statement: she ignores the Mavericks’ desire to hear voices (mostly colored people) who feel that the anthem does not represent them. The stars ultimately patted a faction of their fan base that is traditionalism and conservative culture in favor of hearing from marginalized communities who don’t feel it makes sense to have the anthem before the games.
The story goes on
The stars could have gone about their business and played the anthem without much fanfare, but drawing attention to it in the face of Mark Cuban’s news sends the wrong message. It feels like an attempt to defeat the Mavericks while they are gasping for being traditionalists.
Whether you can see in person in an arena or during a broadcast, fans get to their seats, to concessions or on their phones at a supposedly sacred point.
The team’s decision to let everyone know they’ll still be playing the anthem is strange, but at least they have fans to play in front of. Dallas is one of the few NHL franchises to have allowed fans in their building amid a global pandemic.
It’s downright uncomfortable to see teams, especially Canadian ones, take notice of their anthem when intruding crowd comes in to simulate the actual game.
Who are these hymns played for if not all fans can stand in the stands?
If the reason continues to be to honor the valued sacrifices of our soldiers, it would not be a slap in the face of the frontline workers who are sacrificing their time treating people in a pandemic and encouraging people to stay home and make their victims to put life on hold while vaccines are used?
If you go back to the origins of the “Stars and Stripes”, its early years are linked to war. It was first played before a baseball game in 1862 during the Civil War, and the tradition of playing it before sporting events became a thing during World War II, not long after the United States made the song their actual anthem.
Despite its controversial history, fans were at least in the stands to take a moment to honor their country.
In the present, as the world battles a global crisis, North American sport holds on to that tradition in sport.
Well not all. While they were playing in their own pandemic bubble, they didn’t play Major League Soccer before the games.
Defending the so-called “old” tradition of playing a national anthem before a game seems bizarre under the circumstances and, to some viewers, far more harmful than they might think. The Dallas Stars have to realize that.
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