Commentary

Is this the dumbest statement yet about the National Anthem controversy at ECU?

McCrory_budget305-aThere have been a lot of ridiculous and irresponsible (and even dangerous) responses to the peaceful protest undertaken by some members of the East Carolina University marching band during the playing of the National Anthem at a recent football game. As a story in Raleigh’s News & Observer highlighted once more yesterday, the bizarre claims of an ECU professor that the protest somehow provides her with license to carry a loaded firearm onto the university campus is high on the list.

Today’s winner, however, in the competition for lamest and most illogical statement has to go to Gov. Pat McCrory for his laugh-out-loud observation in the same story that “I believe it’s extremely inappropriate for ECU protesters to kneel during the National Anthem. Politics should be kept out of sports.” (Emphasis supplied.)

Really? Politics should be kept out of sports?

Uh, excuse us Governor, but have you ever been to a big time sporting event? Even if one sets aside the fact that the very playing of the Anthem to begin with is an inherently political act, it’s almost impossible to go to one without being bombarded by politics.

This is especially true at NASCAR races where conservative politicians are regularly given access to the microphone to address the crowd. After that, the events are almost invariably kicked off with an explicitly Christian (and conservative) prayer, followed by various military displays — a flyover or parachute landing or something similar. Many of the cars on the track contain political messages and ads. The big Memorial Day race at Charlotte Motor Speedway each year is frequently an extended commercial for the military and hawkish foreign policy. Similar scenes are also a regular feature at big-time football games.

But heck, we don’t have to tell the Governor this. During his time in politics he’s appeared at countless sporting events to “throw out the first pitch,” play in a golf tournament pro-am or otherwise show his mug in an effort to garner a little free publicity for himself and his agenda. A quick Google search produces dozens of images of the Guv out there keeping politics out of sports at various events.

The bottom line: If protesting ECU band members have any doubts about the appropriateness of their actions, they need look no further than to the actions — if not the words — of their very own governor for confirmation that their protests are completely appropriate.

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