The Star Spangled Banner has become another victim of cancel culture. America's national anthem is under fire, and USA Today is providing the match with four stories in recent days denigrating the Star Spangled Banner.
USA Today posted one story last week, two on Wednesday and one more on Thursday to help spread the anti-anthem contagion. Reporter Jim Reineking reported that former U.S. men's national soccer team coach Bruce Arena said last week it is "inappropriate" to play the anthem before sporting events, and the lefties at USA Today have been fueling the fire on the story ever since then.
Steve Gardner's Wednesday story focused on Tulsa's semi-pro National Premier Soccer League team and its decision to replace the anthem at home matches with Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" as its designated "song of patriotism." Gardner reports the third verse of the anthem, though never sung at sporting events, was the tipping point:
"No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…”
Tulsa Athletic officials reviewed the lyrics and concluded the anthem does not represent or unite their diverse players, fans and community. Team co-owner Sonny Dalesandro said, “From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic. 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."
On Wednesday, USA Today ran a story written by Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News Sentinel about Scrap Yard, a pro softball team in Texas that includes nearly half the players on the U.S. national women's team. Team members collectively quit because the general manager tweeted President Donald Trump that her team had stood for the national anthem before Monday's game. That was heresy for the players, as all of them walked out after a post-game meeting with General Manager Connie May in protest of her tweet (since deleted):
"Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live @usssaspacecoast @USSSAPride," the tweet read, with a photo of its players standing with hands over their hearts. "Everyone respected the FLAG!"
After gaining national publicity for standing during the national anthem, angry Scrap Yard players changed their tune and promoted kneeling. Pitcher Monica Abbott (in photo above), a 2008 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, went ballistic on her Twitter account:
"I kneel. I kneel with all of my friends, teammates, and any person of color.
"The tweet sent out by Connie May on the ScrapYardFP account in no way reflects the athletes in this organization. It sure as heck doesn't represent my feelings and I can't believe a company I am supposed to represent would do something like this. I'm in shock.
"I believe softball to be an inclusive sport (and) any shape, size or color can be good at this game. But it doesn't mean that the organization believes the same.
"Being blindsided, with a tweet like this in the middle of the game, is the (utmost) disrespect to my Black teammates, all athletes, and supporters. And this is not acceptable."
Several Scrap Yard players announced they are through with the team. A rival team in Florida, the USSSA Pride, denounced Scrap Yard's tweet and called its message "incredibly damaging and disrespectful."
USA Today's Joe Curley jumped into the anthem controversy Thursday when he featured Scrap Yard first baseman Sam Fischer's anger over the May tweet. A past member of the U.S. national women's softball team, Fischer was stunned to see her face in the Twitter photo:
“We were thrust into a position to defend ourselves because a comment was made on our behalf. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is not how I feel. This is not my stance.’ ”
Fischer tweeted: "I do NOT support the comments made by @ScrapYardFP and I will not associate myself with an organization that stands by those beliefs. BLACK LIVES MATTER. I will not be spoken for on this issue and I am appalled that after a game I was blindsided by something so disheartening."
The Scrap Yards season appears to be one-and-done, over with after the first game. Chalk up another "victory" for cancel culture as Francis Scott Key's musical description of a crucial victory in the War of 1812 sparing Americans from British tyranny takes a broadside in a new war against freedom.