Tulsa Athletic, a semi-pro soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League, has announced that the national anthem will no longer be played at games. The soccer team will instead replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”
“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…,’ Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values,” the club said in a statement.
“While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community.”
The decision comes at a time where nationwide protests have been sparked following the death of George Floyd. The protests have rallied against police brutality and racial equality, while calling for the end of systemic racism.
“During Tulsa Athletic’s song of patriotism, players and fans can sing along if they are comfortable. As always, all forms of patriotic expression are welcomed and respected at Tulsa Athletic’s matches,” the team added.
Tulsa Athletic plays its games at Veterans Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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