Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration. Apuleius

Ancient Roman Discus-thrower

Recently, numerous accounts of athletes refusing to stand for the National Anthem have grabbed the headlines.

I understand how this position can hurt the feelings of many Americans, especially the veterans of foreign wars. But personally, I believe that too much familiarity leads to disrespect. When the National Anthem is played too frequently, it loses its special aura.
To keep its cachet, it should only be performed on solemn occasions, not in every stadium, state fairs or rodeos.

Human beings have been conditioned to only show reverence for rarity. Playing The Star-Spangled Banner too often cheapens its value.

All objects lose by too familiar a view. John Dryden

There are many ways to voice political concern and shunning the National Anthem is not one of them. It is too divisive. It makes immediate enemies of people otherwise united by a common passion.

Politics is like religion. It does not belong at the dinner table, the bedroom or the arena. It is toxic and destructive.

If you are famous and want to express a political point of view, it is better to call a press conference. Spoiling a public event for thousands is not the way to rally people to your cause.

Politics should be excluded from sports, especially when brought to the fore by very well paid athletes. A jock is basically an actor, paid to entertain the public.

Can you image a thespian intoning:

“To be or not to be that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles…”

and kneeling for a few minutes before continuing his soliloquy? I can already hear the boos and catcalls…

Athletes should do what they are (very well) compensated for and leave the National Anthem and politics out of the entertainment sphere.


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