Kevin Blackistone’s “War Anthem” Controversy

BY CHELSEA VANASSCHE

The “Buy or Sell” segment of ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” essentially asks panelist to either buy or sell things either they like or don’t like. During a recent episode’s, “Buy or Sell” segment, panelist Kevin Blackistone was asked about the Northwestern University football uniforms which will be worn in support of the Wounded Warrior Project in this season’s upcoming game against Michigan.

While the uniforms are worn for a great cause, controversy surrounds the uniforms. This includes the full American flag uniforms being worn by the players or the fact that on the uniforms it looks like blood is splattered. Blackistone decided to “sell” the uniforms but his argument went beyond the Northwestern’s uniforms.

Blackistone argued, “military symbolism embraced in sports: whether it’s the singing of a war anthem to open every game, whether it’s going to get a hot dog and being able to sign up for the Army at the same time, whether it’s the NFL’s embrace of the mythology of the Pat Tillman story.” “You are conflating a war anthem with a simple game,” he said. “And when you have military flyovers and all the other military symbolism that goes on in sports, I think, you’ve got a problem.”
The national anthem shows respect to the freedom we have in our country and ultimately, has became a tradition in sports. Professional sports have become a part of America’s culture, and there is no better stage to respect our troops and country.

The fly-over’s, the national anthem, and recognizing those serving our country in pre-game ceremonies is a great reminder to our citizens that we are able to live in a free country and enjoy the entertainment of sports.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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