There was a report over the weekend that the NFL is adding to pregame playlists for the first week of the upcoming season, provided there is a season, of course.
At first, I thought the story was an internet hoax, until I saw it originally linked from USA Today.
According to the story, the NFL is going to play "Lift Every Voice" before playing the "Star-Spangled Banner" at each game's kickoff. "Lift Every Voice" has been called the Black national anthem.
I have a couple of questions.
First, the hypocrisy in that the guy who turned our behavior during the national anthem into the only thing over the last two decades that can derail the NFL's monolithic ratings still does not have a job in the league before the league went a complete 180 and now will play what is considered the Black national anthem is difficult to even contemplate.
It almost makes you wonder if Colin Kaepernick really ever wanted to get back on the field to begin with. Considering the big-dollar deals he got with Nike and the news that ESPN and Disney have now partnered with Kaepernick's production company for several multimillion-dollar projects, well, he's making a whole lot of money being a former football player/martyr these days.
Second, is there a Hispanic anthem or an Asian-American anthem? What about various religious groups and sexual orientation anthems? Asking for a friend.
OK, sarcasm aside — mostly — but this makes me think that if we have multiple national anthems, do we really have a national anthem? In some ways, an honest attempt at canceling the "Star-Spangled Banner" because of the retroactive historical whitewashing of Francis Scott Key and trying to replace it would be way more American than this.
Because a separate anthem is not about the original goal of equality, the efforts of the 1960s civil rights giants who fought to get to the same seats at the diner, the same water fountains and the same seat choices on public buses.
Simply put: This is not a decision made about inclusiveness or unity; this is about trying to satisfy the loudest outcry of the moment.
Now go a step further. What happens if a white player decides to take a knee during the Black national anthem? Worse, what happens if white fans protest, sit or, worse, boo during the Black national anthem and then stand for the "Star-Spangled Banner," or vice versa during the "Star-Spangled Banner" after that?
Outrage? Assuredly. Fights? Maybe.
More divides and discontent. Of course.
And with an easily predictable outcome like that, how could this possibly be part of a solution to the issues we face?
Because no matter the debates between Black and white, the divide will only grow exponentially with the more qualifiers we put in front of Americans, which should be the one word that unifies us all.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.