The Tulsa Athletic Soccer team has officially announced Wednesday they are ditching the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of their games. The song will be replaced with “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie for the remainder of the home matches this year.
Tulsa Athletic’s mission is to create an inclusive community through the game of soccer. After carefully reviewing “The Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics and meaning, including the third verse, which mentions “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…,” read the club’s public statement to affirm its values.
This decision follows country widespread civil unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd was killed when an officer held his knee on his neck for close to nine minutes.
It’s even sparked the attention of those in the sports world and circled back to 2016 when Colin Kaepernick initially protested the national anthem and racial injustice in America by taking a knee during the song.
The star-spangled banner that we currently know is shortened from its original version. When performed, it’s usually just the first stanza, there are three additional stanzas that are often omitted, and it’s the third stanza in the song that is problematic.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
This is ultimately what sealed the fate of Tulsa deciding against playing this song.
“From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic,” Tulsa Athletic’s co-owner Sonny Dalesandro said. “We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voice. We utilize this right as a club to continually try and improve our team and community.”
Now, if only we can get *that* NFL team to change its name…