As the conversation about racial injustice continues to dominate American politics, a soccer team is removing “The Star-Spangled Banner” from its pre-game routine.
Tulsa Athletic, a team in the semi-professional National Premier Soccer League, announced Wednesday that it will replace the national anthem with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” in local games.
Troubled line in the national anthem behind Tulsa Athletic’s decision
In their statement explaining the decision, the team noted the third little-known verse from “The Star-Spangled Banner” that includes the lines “No refuge could save the wage earner and the slave / From the terror of escape or the gloom of the grave. .. “Given those lyrics, Tulsa Athletic said that” the song does not align with the club’s core values. “
The line of “wage earners and slaves” has been interpreted by some as a reference to the Colonial Marines, a unit of escaped slaves recruited by British forces in the War of 1812 that helped invade Washington DC and set fire to the White House.
From Tulsa Athletic:
“Since our inception, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic,” said Sonny Dalesandro, co-owner of Tulsa Athletic. “We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voices. We use this right as a club to continually try to improve our team and community. We believe that ‘This land is your land’ not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but it does so in a much more inclusive way. The song talks about this country built and shared by all people of all races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations. It represents a future that Tulsa Athletic is committed to fighting for. ”
Fans will be encouraged to sing alongside “This Land Is Your Land” at Tulsa Athletic matches with “all forms of patriotic expression” being welcomed.
According to reports, the tradition will begin with a special “Equality Cup” against the city of Minneapolis in Tulsa.
The USMNT coach also criticized the use of the national anthem
Tulsa Athletic is not the first voice in football to have a problem with “The Star-Spangled Banner” in games, as former USMNT coach Bruce Arena called the performance of the song “inappropriate” last week.
However, Arena was not referring to the “hiring and slavery” line at the time. He just had trouble playing the song before sporting events when it is rarely seen in other forms of live entertainment.