A semi-professional soccer team will no longer play the U.S. national anthem before matches and instead will be replacing it with Woody Guthrie's “
A semi-professional soccer team will no longer play the U.S. national anthem before matches and instead will be replacing it with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”
Tulsa Athletic, of the National Premier Soccer League, announced Wednesday that in order to create a more inclusive environment it will change the song. The team said it decided on making the change after reviewing the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
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“After carefully reviewing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ lyrics and meaning, including the third verse which mentions ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…,’ Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values. While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community,” the team said in a press release.
Tulsa Athletic co-owner Sonny Dalesandro also commented on the change.
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“From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic,” he said in the press release. “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. We believe ‘This Land Is Your Land’ not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way. The song speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for.”
The club encouraged fans to sing the song “if they are comfortable.”
Tulsa Athletic has six home matches this season.
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The NPSL was founded in 2003 and contains several teams across the U.S. Tulsa Athletic plays in the Heartland Conference.