ESPN Columnist Howard Bryant: Singing the National Anthem is “Staged Patriotism”

ESPN Columnist Howard Bryant: Singing the National Anthem is “Staged Patriotism”

ESPN Columnist Howard Bryant: Singing the National Anthem is “Staged Patriotism”

We could not have an “authoritarian shift”, can we?

In an upcoming article entitled “The Unspoken Truth” penned by ESPN Columnist, Howard Bryant to be released on June 6th, Bryant argues the act of watching uniformed armed service members and cops singing The National Anthem “stifles” the voice of black athletes, promoting authoritarianism and a “false hero” narrative. Bryant cites 9/11 for further argument:

(The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks) created a false “hero narrative” in which “policing is seen as clean, heroic, uncomplicated.” Since 9/11, America has conflated the armed forces with first responders, creating a mishmash of anthem-singing cops and surprise homecomings in a time of Ferguson and militarized police”.

He blames the National Anthem for the “authoritarian shift” at the ball park. In Bryant’s opinion, the visual of police officers in their uniforms singing the National Anthem further makes a negative statement about the “poor in Ferguson and Cleveland”. Singing along to the National Anthem, according to Bryant, further cements the statement that these communities “do not matter”.

Nobody seems to care much about this authoritarian shift at the ballpark, yet the media and the public are quick to demand accountability from players they consider insufficiently activist. They blame these black players for not speaking up on behalf of their communities, ignoring the smothering effect that staged patriotism and cops singing the national anthem in a time of Ferguson have on player expression.”

This wasn’t the first time Bryant bemoaned patriotism at sporting events. Back in November, Bryant took a dig at Veteran’s Day:

“There is not just deceit in these practices but also an insulting distortion of history and images. The Chicago Blackhawks ostensibly honored Veterans Day with a camouflage jersey containing the Blackhawks’ logo in the center, clearly uninterested in the colliding imagery — the systematic removal of native tribes occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army. Since 9/11, America has conflated the armed forces with first responders, creating a mishmash of anthem-singing cops and surprise homecomings in a time of Ferguson and militarized police. Tensions continue to mount in aggrieved communities, yet the LA Dodgers pandered to police by holding Law Enforcement Appreciation Night in September.”

And he went on a soapbox back in 2013 as well:

“A dynamic that was supposed to be temporary has become permanent. The atmospheres of the games are no longer politically neutral but decidedly, often uncomfortably, nationalistic. The military flyovers, the pre-game inclusion of the armed forces, and the addition of “God Bless America” to “The Star-Spangled Banner” are no longer spontaneous or reactions to a specific event, but fixtures.”

It seems as Bryant doth protest too much. Could it be the assault and battery and resisting arrest charges brought against him in 2011?

The Pledge of Allegiance. The National Anthem. Flyovers. Of course, how could we be so oblivious to the fact that all of the above is a ruse to keep us in line. How dare we honor our military service men and women. How dare a law enforcement officer or first responder show his or her face in uniform at a sporting event! And to sing the National Anthem, to boot? Microagressions abound! You know, because black athletes need to do more for their communities (and less for the country that allows them to make the insane salaries that they do) to help the poor people who throw objects at law enforcement, break windows and steal from businesses from within their communities:

In regards to 9/11, policing was far from “clean and uncomplicated”. Ask any law enforcement officer or rescue worker who was there on that fateful day who had to see the deaths of their co-workers and of innocents. These law enforcement officers, first responders who protect us daily and the service members who subsequently went into harms way in the name of GWOT are by no means “false” heroes. They have earned the right and most are honored to don their uniform and recite The Pledge of Allegiance and sing The National Anthem or “God Bless America” at a sporting event. While there will be no “hero worship” at the altar on Bryant’s behalf, these men and women are the unsung heroes…so if they want to sing…we say let ’em! Let Bryant believe his delusions and ideologies that sadly, many other Americans buy into. Something tells me he loved Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Performance, though.

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5 Comments
  • Younts says:

    Why hasn’t ESPN (ugh) fire him like they have fired others who’ve made what they consider to be offensive remarks? Apparently, ESPN agrees with such vitriol, which is just another good reason to boycott anything ESPN.

  • Stacy0311 says:

    I’ve found an easy and satisfying way to deal with asshats like this: When they’ve finished their tirade/rant/tantrum, I simply say “You’re welcome”. And remind them that it’s because of veterans that they have the ability to publicly flaunt their stupidity.

  • jacmo says:

    He’s a protected class, unlike Curt Schilling who had three strikes against him. One, he is White. Two, He is conservative. And three he spoke and wrote about his conservatism.
    On the other hand Bryant’s writings and rants fit in with the idiocy at ESPN.
    I hope he retains his job and is not even suspended then Schilling can file a huge lawsuit against ESPN.

  • Lisa Carr says:

    ESPN=the network that gave the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner. Where was Bryant’s mouth on THAT one? Crickets.

  • GWB says:

    I will say this: sometimes patriotism is just as much ‘virtue signaling’ for the right as all the PC crap is for the left. Is it actually necessary to put police and military in uniform for the national anthem? Not really. This country is in danger of creating a Praetorian Guard out of its police and military, imho.

    Having said that, singing the national anthem just is NOT racist. And it certainly doesn’t “suppress” much in the way of player self-expression. Now, the expectation that baseball players should stand there and show some damn respect for the country might suppress some a**holery on the part of some athletes, but it’s not a racism issue.

    In fact, the biggest problem we have in this country is lack of love for the things that made this country truly great.

    BTW, I love to sing the 3d and 4th verses*. I much prefer them to the first verse, especially after 9/11. Of course, after the last several years I sing them with tears in my eyes for the loss of that part of America. Oh, it’s not totally gone. But the flame on that wick is feeble and flickering in the wind that is progressivism.

    (*And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
    A home and a country, should leave us no more?
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
    Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! )

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