The national anthem has long been used as a way to express patriotism, unify fans, and pay our nation’s veterans their due. While this tradition plays an integral part of our culture, its misuse as a platform for political protest can be divisive. With Dallas Mavericks decision not to play national anthem prior to home games provides leagues an opportunity to reconsider this tradition in favor of one that more accurately represents our values as Americans.

Origins of the national anthem as a game-day ritual remain unclear, though Francis Scott Key’s song became immensely popular following its creation as a patriotic response to Fort McHenry being bombarded in 1814. It quickly rose in popularity alongside nationalism at that time; so much so that when its performance goes wrong like in 1990 when Roseanne Barr shrieked out her version while grasping her crotch during it at a baseball game it can be highly distressful and upsetting for those listening along at home who already knew all its words by heart!

Technology and patriotism played a vital role in cementing this tradition into American sports culture. Following World War II, sound systems allowed teams and parks to perform the national anthem without needing an orchestra – thus broadening its practice at more events – while victory in WWII made its presence more recognizable and revered within society as part of our national fabric.

As we enter a pandemic, sports leagues should reexamine how they use this symbol to uphold American values. As symbols can shift over time, and our nation’s anthem has no longer held significance to millions of Americans, it may need redefining as part of an effective outreach strategy.

The national anthem may not be patriotic in itself, but its lyrics reinforce the idea that there are certain people within American society who deserve different treatment than others and deserve special consideration. This message sent from our anthem may send to many people and may not be beneficial to society or athletes alike.

Sports leagues should offer players an option between standing during the national anthem or kneeling instead. Furthermore, they should encourage them to create new pregame rituals that can serve as unifying symbols without pushing an narrow definition of patriotism onto some members of our country – it wouldn’t be anti-American to want all Americans to feel included and accepted!