LSU Coach's Explanation for Skipping Anthem Makes Things Even Worse


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

Imagine driving home from work, getting pulled over for speeding near your house and telling the officer, “I’m not sure what the speed limit is on that road. I drive it every day and today I was going the same speed I always do.”

Do you think you’d have made the situation better with that confession, or worse?

LSU Tigers Head Coach Kim Mulkey, facing criticism for her team’s absence from the court during the playing of the national anthem before the April 1 game, could probably answer that question for you.

Asked about the incident after her team’s loss, Mulkey said the team wasn’t intentionally spurning the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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“Honestly, I don’t even know when the anthem was played. We kind of have a routine,” she said, explaining that at a certain point, the team goes back into the locker room to complete their pre-game work.

I suppose there’s something to be said for “accidentally” ignoring the national anthem, rather than doing so deliberately. Very little something, but something.

Should all athletes stand respectfully when the national anthem is played?

The point, however, is that respecting your national anthem, much like obeying a speed limit, is an act that should be performed deliberately. Mulkey has failed to do that, and has failed to lead her team in doing it.

As I used to tell my son: You can either do what you’re supposed to do, or you can not get it done. Having a really good reason for not getting it done still falls in the latter category.

Her disrespect did not go unnoticed on social media.

LSU Athletics Official Issues Statement on Anthem Controversy, Doesn't Help School's Case

The fact is, Mulkey’s behavior indicates that respecting the United States, its flag, its freedoms and the men and women who have served, suffered, sacrificed and in some cases died to protect all of those things just isn’t a high priority for her.

And her words following LSU’s defeat that Monday confirmed what her behavior had already broadcast.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics