Back in the days when I followed boxing, I attended the competition between the U.S. and Irish boxing teams. Before the matches, the band played the Irish National Anthem. Every single American in the crowd stood along with the Irish. All of the American boxers stood along with the Irish boxers. The band then played our National Anthem. Out of respect, all of the Irish Boxers remained standing as did the Irish fans.
When I was a child, my family travelled to Cleveland. We went to an Indians game. That was about 60 years ago. I can’t even remember much about the game other than it was eventually rained out. I do remember the national anthem being played. The stadium was completely silent for a minute prior to the beginning of the anthem. When the anthem ended, the crowd erupted with noise and applause. The atmosphere during that experience was so overwhelming that I still remember it today.
The national anthem is not a pledge of allegiance. It is the national song. The Star Spangled Banner was adopted as the U.S. national anthem in 1931. Several other songs served as the national anthem prior to that. There is nothing political about the Star Spangled Banner. The playing of the national song before an athletic event is part of the event itself.
When players kneel during the Star Spangled banner to make a political point, it comes across as rudeness and nothing else. It is a way of spoiling the atmosphere that surrounds a game. Does anyone in the audience know exactly what the players are protesting? What exactly is the political message? What wisdom are the fans supposed to receive?
Kneeling while the anthem is being played is rudeness and nothing else.