Apropos #takeaknee and the previous post:
Most of the discussion about whether NFL and other athletes should stay on their feet during the pre-game singing of the Star Spangled Banner miss the point. Kneeling is a political statement, but so is not kneeling.
The public staging of the national anthem is a political event. It began in professional baseball during World War I as a demonstration of support for the war effort (before the SSB was even officially the anthem), at a time when propaganda and repression against dissent were fierce. But you don’t need to know much history to recognize “all rise for the national anthem” for what it is.
The public singing of the anthem is a nationalist ceremony. Through it, those present confirm their loyalty to the government as a value that supersedes all others. If we had a different song about democracy and popular sovereignty as supreme values, that might be better, but it would be political too. Nationalism is simply one particular political value system, and the unthinking acceptance most people give to it doesn’t change that fact.
So athletes who make a show of not embracing the nationalist display are not injecting politics into anything; they are responding to one political statement with another that expresses their own point of view. If you don’t want to mix sports and politics, eliminate the enforced display of nationalism.
Also, the SSB is a terrible song, with crappy music and lyrics.