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posted: 10/2/2017 1:00 AM

Is national anthem just a marketing tool?

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I consider myself a patriot, and I served as a captain in the United States Army. During the course of my 67 years, I have had season tickets for every major Chicago sports team.

I believe that standing during the national anthem, removing one's hat, putting your hand over your heart, etc. are proper behaviors showing respect for our country, our soldiers, and those who fought and died for our freedoms. Anything less is quite frankly un-American and when done by multimillionaire athletes, who almost without exception have never served their country, I find it particularly galling.

However, quite frankly, I'm not sure what exactly is patriotic about two MLB or NFL or NHL or NBA teams playing a game. I have a hunch doing so is a marketing decision that is in the financial interest of the club owners who are able to correlate their teams with patriotism and thus sell more tickets.

I know that we began playing the national anthem at major-league baseball games during World War II when President Roosevelt made a decision to continue playing those games as a vital distraction to Americans beleaguered with the news of World War II. Of course, that made sense. I also understand playing our national anthem before international sports events. But trying to say that the Chicago Cubs playing the Philadelphia Phillies on a Tuesday afternoon is somehow a patriotic event is beyond me.

Russ Hagberg


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