Why is the National Anthem Played at Sporting Events?

The national anthem is an instantly recognisable moment at any sporting event, serving as both an emblematic representation of America and an expression of national pride for many Americans. But why exactly do we sing it prior to sporting events?

Since 1918, when it first made its debut during a World Series matchup between Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, an anthem has been played before baseball games. Since its introduction, its popularity has only grown further, fueled by sound systems which allowed live recordings to be played at sports arenas and patriotic sentiment as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II. Before long it became a regular occurrence before all major league baseball matches as well as football and hockey games; soon it even spread further afield!

After World War II ended, however, some fans began to feel that the national anthem wasn’t as necessary at games; the Chicago Cubs stopped performing it before every game in 1967 due to team owner Philip K. Wrigley citing its solemnity being diminished through repeated renditions at athletic events. But its significance was revived again when the Pentagon approved hundreds of requests from stadium owners asking that military planes fly overhead before big games to show support for our troops and show respect.

Modern times have seen several athletes, most notably Colin Kaepernick, protest the national anthem by kneeling during it and refusing to stand during it. While such actions have caused criticism from some fans who view such protests as disrespectful for players to refuse standing during it, we must remember that protesting during it has long been used as a form of resistance and protest in America.

During the 1960s, black athletes like John Carlos and Tommie Smith protested during the national anthem by raising their fists in defiance – an act that not only signified courage but also underscored our history’s tragic chapter of oppression and violence towards people of color. By upholding and refusing to acknowledge its racist roots, we perpetuate an antiquated system which never truly served American citizens’ best interests.

Since our national anthem does not make all Americans proud, rather than just some, it may be time for us to reconsider whether it should be played at sporting events. All the discussion around it has only served to draw away attention from what should really be the primary goal of sports: celebration and camaraderie among fans. Until it does this for all American audiences equally, perhaps playing it at sporting events might not be appropriate.