Bill Requires National Anthem Before Games

Republican legislator’s bill mandates anthem played in all taxpayer-funded facilities in state.

By - Feb 26th, 2021 10:56 am
The seating bowl at the Fiserv Forum. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

The seating bowl at the Fiserv Forum. File photo by Jack Fennimore.

Wisconsin state Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) proposed a bill on Wednesday that would require the national anthem be played before sporting events taking place in facilities that have received taxpayer funding. This would include the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field, the Milwaukee BucksFiserv Forum and the Milwaukee Brewers’ American Family Field.

Testin’s “Star Spangled Banner Act” is targeted at a “small but vocal group of activists” who object to the playing of the anthem.

This year, the Dallas Mavericks quietly stopped playing the anthem before games and the decision went unnoticed for 13 games. The Mavericks have started playing the anthem again because it is required by NBA rules.

The anthem at sporting events has become a culture war issue after professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the song as a gesture of protest against racial injustice.

Testin’s bill mirrors, in content and name, a bill introduced by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick after the Mavericks’ change was realized.

“Hearing the Star Spangled Banner at a sporting event reminds us that despite our differences, we have something in common — we are Americans,” Testin said in a statement. “This tradition traces its roots back more than a century — even pre-dating the song’s adoption as the national anthem. It’s a practice that unites us, and I believe it’s worth preserving.”

Professional sports leagues — at the time mostly just baseball — sporadically played the anthem during games in the late 1800s but the practice did not become regular until World War II when the NFL and MLB made the practice standard.

Even then, NFL players didn’t regularly take the field during the anthem until after 2009.

In response to last year’s widespread protests for racial justice, the Packers did not take the field while the anthem was played last season.

Testin’s bill does not mention the practice of the United States military of using the song’s patriotic theme as a recruiting tool.

In 2015, Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake released a report that found the Department of Defense had spent $6.8 million in displays of American might — flyovers by fighter jets, massive American flags and soldiers returning from combat — before sporting events.

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.

7 thoughts on “Bill Requires National Anthem Before Games”

  1. JoeFin says:

    If it is state funds then it makes more sense to play the Wisconsin State song “On, Wisconsin!”

  2. 45 years in the City says:

    Talk about “hiding behind the flag”.

    What’s next? Sanctions for not standing at attention, continuing to drink beer, wearing a backward seed cap, not knowing the words, not having having a good singing voice? (All common occurrences.)

  3. tornado75 says:

    there is absolutely no reason to play the national anthem at the beginning of sports events. the star spangled banner, song and flag, does not tell everyone we are all americans under one flag. 2020 told us that any number of ways. let’s just forget the singing, standing and saluting this song and choose something that is appropriate to sports.

  4. Wilson Perry says:

    Isn’t it ironic that the proponents of this government intrusion on freedom to decide on what, if any, music is played in public are mostly advocates for freedom from being required to wear masks and all other efforts to limit the spread of Coronavirus? How many lives will be saved by playing the Star Spangled Banner?

  5. gerrybroderick says:

    Another diversionary Republican initiative while they avoid dealing with the pressing issues confronting our citizenry.
    Saluting the flag while repressing the vote. They are a party devoid of all but self-interest.

  6. MilwMike1 says:

    May as well mandate that masks are forbidden to be worn while singing while he’s at it. Idiots.

  7. ringo muldano says:

    Thinly-veiled pious righty-whitey b.s.

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