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NFL Kicks Off New Season with Televised Performance of the 'Black National Anthem'

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The National Football League continued its social justice push Thursday night by ensuring that a song colloquially known as the black national anthem was performed prior to the season’s first game.

The Florida A&M University Concert Choir performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” along with a version of the song recorded last year by Alicia Keys prior to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Michelle Williams.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys stood solemnly on the end zone lines at Raymond James Stadium, many with their arms interlocked, during the performance.

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“Tonight, the NFL, as it did last year, will present ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ also known as the black national anthem,” NBC announcer Mike Tirico said during the broadcast. “And it will happen at several league events during the year – the NFL continuing the attention around social justice causes.”

Not everyone is a believer in the league’s social justice emphasis.

Do you think the "black national anthem" should be performed before NFL games?

“I don’t think people want politics in their sports,” former Fox News host Megyn Kelly said recently on “The Megyn Kelly Show,” according to Mediaite. “I think that’s why the NBA has taken such a hit and learned from its prior experience. The NFL doesn’t seem to be learning quite as quickly.”

Although the NFL is trying to minimize the number of times either song is played to a TV audience, Kelly said, there is no reason to have two songs.

“I don’t think that the average American — black or white – wants to hear the black national anthem before they hear the national anthem … and it’s no offense against people of color, we’re one country,” Kelly said. “We don’t need separate anthems.”

“It’s a chance to come together,” she said. “Celebrate America … and then play a sports game. And not to shove politics or divisive cultural issues down the throats of the viewers who are looking for a getaway.”

Many fans agreed.

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Dallas talk show host Mark Davis shared thoughts of a similar vein in an Op-Ed for Newsweek on Sunday.

“The NFL should be primed to welcome back fans after COVID and social justice activism drove so many away,” he wrote. “But now comes news of additional scoldings delivered via NFL uniforms and playing fields.

“Ostensibly meant to inspire us to better ourselves, this messaging is in fact one more example of woke corporate America mobilizing to characterize us as a racist culture in dire need of upbraiding at every turn.

“Players will get to choose from various slogans to display on the backs of their helmets, including ‘Stop Hate,’ ‘End Racism’ and the famously divisive ‘Black Lives Matter.’ One wonders about the fate of any player choosing to leave his helmet unadorned.”

Davis said the slogans have real meanings, whether the NFL understands that or not.

“These are not just innocuous phrases pasted across helmets and stenciled onto end zone turf,” he wrote. “These messages tell every fan that the NFL sees America as a deeply broken land so riven by racism that the league must pepper stadiums and TV screens with constant sloganeering more suited to an incorrigible child than to a nation of grownups who can be relied on to make progress without finger-wagging from the world of sports.”

If the social justice theme was the same for the NFL opener, so was Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady’s ability to pull out a game in final moments, as Buccaneers defeated Dallas 31-29.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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