Sean Hannity blasted the National Football League on Thursday after it was announced that a song known as the ‘black national anthem’ would be played before The Star-Spangled Banner during pre-game festivities
Sean Hannity blasted the National Football League on Thursday after it was revealed that a song known as the ‘black national anthem’ would be played before The Star-Spangled Banner during pre-game festivities.
‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ is likely to be performed live or played before every game during the first week of the upcoming NFL season that starts in September.
The public broadcaster PBS sparked outrage earlier this month when it invited Vanessa Williams to sing the same song during its nationally televised Fourth of July celebration in front of the US Capitol. Williams sang the song as a nod to Juneteenth being codified into law this year as a federal holiday.
The song is one of several other measures that the league is considering as part of an effort to acknowledge victims of police brutality, according to a report published on Thursday by ESPN’s The Undefeated.
The 2021 NFL season gets underway on September 9 when the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys.
Hannity, the Fox News primetime star, said the NFL’s decision was a sign that ‘so-called liberals are attempting to politicize sports.’
‘This is a really bad idea,’ the Hannity host said during his broadcast on the cable news channel on Thursday.
Hannity hit out at the NFL as well as other professional sports leagues including the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball for ‘going deeper into politics as their ratings continue to dive.’
He said that the politicization of sports has fans ‘turned off.’
‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ is likely to be performed live or played before every game during the first week of the upcoming NFL season that starts in September. The image above shows members of the Houston Texans kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville in November of last year
PBS has divided opinion with its decision to have Vanessa Williams sing the ‘black national anthem’ during its July 4 celebration, in a nod to Juneteenth being made a federal holiday. Williams is seen above during a taping of her performance on July 2
‘People…kind of like to go to games because it’s a distraction from everyday life,’ Hannity said.
‘Everybody there has a shared passion for a sport and a home team. It’s a uniting moment.’
Hannity added: ‘And now of course the social justice warriors will ruin that.’
Hannity praised the National Hockey League for the ‘patriotism’ that was on display after fans at a recent Tampa Bay Lightning – New York Islanders playoff game sang the national anthem in unison.
‘There is nothing wrong with our flag, our great anthem,’ Hannity said.
‘It doesn’t need to be redesigned in any way. It’s the greatest country god gave man and we don’t need to be ashamed all the time, or apologizing all the time.’
The NFL is waging a public relations campaign centered on social justice issues in the wake of last year’s fatal arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The league, in collaboration with the NFL Players Association, is also considering featuring names of victims who suffered police brutality on uniforms, helmets or patches on jerseys.
In the 1 minute, 21 second video uploaded to Goodell’s Twitter account last month, the NFL commissioner condemned racism, pledging his allegiance to equal justice for players and affirming that Black lives do matter.
Goodell released the video as a response to requests made by more than a dozen star players, quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes II (right) and Deshaun Watson (left)
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, along with other NFL players, began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness of racial injustices
The demonstrations ignited national debate, with NFL owners taking side of those who thought players should stand during the anthem because it was considered disrespectful and unpatriotic
The decision comes as the league hopes to demonstrate ‘a genuine commitment to the public, players and coaches and that player voices continue to be heard,’ the source wrote in a text message.
‘This is key to educating fans, and becoming a prominent voice in the fight to end racism.’
The NFL has recently displayed increased awareness about the issues of systemic racism, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitting the league was wrong in how it approached NFL player protesting police brutality and systemic racism over the past few years.
In the 1 minute, 21 second video uploaded to Goodell’s Twitter account last month, the NFL commissioner condemned racism, pledging his allegiance to equal justice for players and affirming that black lives do matter.
How did the ‘Black National Anthem’ originate?
Written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is often referred to as the ‘Black National Anthem.’
Johnson’s brother, John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), composed the music for the lyrics, according to the NCAA.
While James Weldon Johnson was principal at the segregated Stanton School, a choir of 500 schoolchildren first performed the song in public in Jacksonville, Florida to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
At the turn of the 20th century, Johnson’s lyrics eloquently captured the solemn yet hopeful appeal for the liberty of Black Americans.
Set against the religious invocation of God and the promise of freedom, the song was later adopted by NAACP and prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
‘We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,’ Goodell said.
‘We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.’
Goodell continued by saying he would begin connecting with players who are making their voices heard adding: ‘Without black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.’
Goodell released the video as a response to requests made by more than a dozen star players, quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
The league also revealed plans to increase its social justice footprint by pledging to donate $250 million over a 10-year period, ESPN reports.
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, along with other NFL players, began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness of racial injustices.
The demonstrations ignited national debate, with NFL owners taking side of those who thought players should stand during the anthem because it was considered disrespectful and unpatriotic.
However, the players continually insisted kneeling wasn’t about the American flag, nor a symbol of their patriotism.
Kaepernick was released from the 49ers in 2016, settling a collusion claim with the NFL in 2019.