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The Contender
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The Star-Spangled Banner Should Not Be Played at United States Sporting Events

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2017 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,086 times Debate No: 104308
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




The Star-Spangled Banner should not be played at sporting events involving the United States, with some exceptions. The exceptions include the Olympics, competitions between different countries, and competitions held outside of the United States. The inclusions include domestic sporting events such as NCAA college basketball games, NBA basketball games, NFL football games, and MLB baseball games.

All people attending the events, whether to watch or to play, already know and respect the United States. To play The Star-Spangled Banner at such a minor event is similar to taunting and encourages disrespect for the United States. To play The Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events suggests the scope of the sporting game is much larger than it actually is. Playing The Star-Spangled Banner at these games is too annoying and a waste of everybody's time. It's too redundant. It's not necessary. It's not an accurate reflection of what the United States is entirely about and what the United States generally stands for.


I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. I am looking forward to this discussion.

To begin, I will counter what my opponent has said before I state my own arguments.

He has stated that those who are in attendance of the games, whether playing or watching, already knows the national anthem, and already respects the United States. This is true. As citizens of this country, we are (or should be) very familiar with out national anthem. However, he then states that playing it at sporting events is taunting and encourages disrespect. How is this so? If attendees of the events already know and respect their country, they would also take the national anthem with great respect. It does not encourage any disrespect to the United States; its purpose is to help us remember how much sacrifice has been given to preserve this great nation.

I would like my opponent to clarify how playing the national anthem suggests the event at which it's being played is actually larger than it really is. Why does this matter? Who cares about how large or small the event is? If a group of people want to take a few moments to honor their country, they should be allowed to do that.

And, to citizens who know and respect their country, how would playing the national anthem be annoying and a waste of time? Is paying respects to the ones who have sacrificed their lives for this country a waste of time? No. Yes, it's not NECESSARY, but taking a few minutes out of these events to honor one's country does show a sense of unity and patriotism among citizens.

Now, to my arguments. Some of these may have been stated above, but I feel it necessary to bring them together for the readers.

Playing the national anthem at sporting events is a great thing. It shows that so many people are willing to contemplate the lives that have been lost to preserve our nation. It shows overall respect for our country and its history.

I would like to wish my opponent the best of luck, and I look forward to hearing his responses!
Debate Round No. 1


The more often The Star-Spangled Banner is played, the more clichéd it will become, the less meaningful it will become, and the more tempted people will become to challenge and disrespect it and the United States. The Star-Spangled Banner would become like fast food, something that is common and that lacks elegance. It would be like that saying "familiarity breeds contempt."

Playing the national anthem at sporting events, which are petty, suggests that the events are part of a battle or war, but in reality the sporting events and their outcomes are intended to be just the opposite, peacetime activities that don't advance our country socially, geographically, or militarily.

Sporting events are often tedious to watch and boring. Proximity suggests association. With The Star-Spangled Banner being played at often tedious, boring events, people would be naturally led to apply a tedious, boring connotation to both The Star-Spangled Banner and the United States. The association between the country and its sporting events is bloated and improper.

Paying respect to the people who have sacrificed their lives and their time for this country should be done in a proper way. A mandatory, scheduled integration of the national anthem into common sporting events takes away the special meaning and respect the song contributes to those who've sacrificed.

I agree that playing the national anthem "shows overall respect for our country and its history," but I think in this case, too much respect is being shown. As a result, our country is being held back. Our progress and productivity is being stunted, as we keep reverting to the same unchanging song more times than is helpful. We should try to look backward less and forward more.


I'm glad that my opponent took the time to respond to my arguments. A lot of people have been forfeiting recently, so it's nice to be able to continue through a debate. I know this off-topic, but I just wanted to give that thanks to my opponent.

I understand where my opponent is coming from in that the more the national anthem is played, the more dull it becomes. However, I disagree with this. While it may be less meaningful to some the more it is played, this is not a reason to stop playing it altogether. In my personal experience, whether I'm at a sporting event, school assemblies, or any other public gathering, I have never heard dull applause after the anthem was played. In other words, at every event I've been to, the audience has always applauded very fully and sound, showing that they are still supporting our national anthem. Again, this is just my personal experience, and of course I can not say that this applies to every case, but to me, this does show that playing the national anthem at public events has not become dull over the years past.

I also do not think that playing the national anthem at sporting events suggests an ambiance of war, and I would like to ask my opponent to clarify why he feels this way.

As my opponent has claimed, watching sporting events are often tedious and boring. While I can not necessary prove him wrong here in any way, as it is simply an opinion, I would like him to consider this: If people saw sporting evens as boring to watch, why would they be there in the first place? I honestly think that the people who went through the trouble of buying tickets and getting to the stadium are there because they want to be. Otherwise, they would most likely not go through the trouble to get there. That being said, I doubt that the national anthem would receive a boring connotation within that atmosphere.

Therefore, the claim my opponent has made that playing the national anthem at sporting events takes away special meaning and respect is not the way I see it. I think it is a great way to continue to encourage respect for our country.

I would like to add a little side note, and my opponent can take it with a grain of salt if he so chooses. Now, I don't know if the national anthem is REQUIRED at these events, but let's assume that it is for a minute. If this law was taken away, and it no longer was required to be played, do you think that sporting events would still put forth the singing of it? I personally think that they would still play the national anthem, because they want to honor their country, not because they have to. Just a thought.

I would like to thank my opponent again for continuing this debate and for the respectful conduct he has had. I look forward to hearing his responses!
Debate Round No. 2


The Star-Spangled Banner is a song whose lyrics were inspired from a battle of a war the United States was fighting in.(1) As the national anthem of the United States, the song is sanctioned by the federal government. The song thus carries with it a connotation of conflict, battle, war, military, and violent government victory(2).

A lot of people might only go to sporting events for the experience. Once they experience first-hand the events are tedious and boring, they would not continue to attend them. That has been the case for me. There are so many interesting things to do other than to attend sporting events.

Playing the national anthem at sporting events that are difficult for some, such as me, to attend gives the national anthem and the country a connotation that they are remote and difficult to access.

When I mentioned a required playing of the national anthem at sporting events, I did not mean legally required. I may have meant a theoretically required playing. Nonetheless, playing the national anthem is required by some sporting associations' rules. The NFL and NHL (if a U.S. NHL team is playing) require the national anthem to be played.(3)

Some states have laws that require The Star-Spangled Banner to be played in a respectful, regulated fashion. One such state is Massachusetts.(4) I reside in Massachusetts. According to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 264, section 9, the national anthem cannot be played as dance music.(4) Playing The Star-Spangled Banner just before festive, loud, obnoxious sporting events filled with alcohol and disrespect from spectators or sometimes even athletes themselves may not constitute dance music or a violation of the cited law, but it falls close. It seems more respect can be afforded to The Star-Spangled Banner and to the United States than what is afforded through those sporting events.

Sources Cited:


I do not fully understand why my opponent continues to make the argument that sporting events are tedious and boring. He has connected this to the national anthem receiving a connotation of being boring. However, I did state that the people in attendance of these events are there because they want to be there. In this case, the national anthem has nothing to do with the game being boring. Also, The Star-Spangled Banner would not be viewed as difficult to access just because it may be hard to get to a particular sporing event. The national anthem can be played whenever one wants it to be played. If they want to hear it in their own home, a simple YouTube search brings up many videos of this song. So it is clearly not difficult to access.

I agree with my opponent in that The Star-Spangled Banner should be played in a respectful manner, and that playing it otherwise would result in a disrespectful atmosphere. However, this does not mean that the national anthem should be removed from sporting events altogether.

I would like to conclude this round with some history of the singing of the national anthem at sporting events. If we look back at September 11, 2001, we will find that our country was in mourning and despair after the attack on the WTC (of course, my opponent will know more about this day than I will, as I was a mere one year of age). During the reclaiming of everyday life, sports were one way that was done.

As stated in an ESPN article, "Across MLB, teams surrounded the song with tributes to the victims and the country's public servants. In Los Angeles, police officer Rosalind Iams sang the song while members of the Dodgers and Padres helped firefighters and police officers unfurl a colossal stars and stripes that stretched almost entirely across the playing field. That same night in Pittsburgh, two members of the Air Force Reserve were called on to sing the anthem as spectators donned 'I Love New York' buttons. And in every ballpark for weeks afterward, tears were shed over what it took Francis Scott Key's lyrics to remind them of: 'Our flag was still there'" (6).

The singing of the national anthem at sporting events may be disrespectful in some fashions, but his does not mean that they should be removed altogether. As shown from this article, the national anthem has help unite Americans in times of tragedy. America should continue to respect the anthem for what it stands for.

I look forward to hearing what my opponent has to say.
Debate Round No. 3


In my own opinion, as of recently, sporting events are tedious and boring. For at least the past few years or so, I do not attend, watch, or track sporting events much. It's very possible many others have a similar opinion on sporting events as I do. My mother, her boyfriend, and my sister don't seem to have much interest in sporting events. Sporting events are not everything to everybody. As for the people that do attend sporting events, not everybody in attendance wants to be there. They may be there for their jobs, due to social pressure, or because they're too young to make their own decisions on where to be. Furthermore, just because a person attends a sporting event and wants to be there, doesn't mean he or she wants the national anthem to be played at the event.

There's a difference between routinely playing the national anthem and passionately playing it. At sporting events, the national anthem is played as a matter of routine, regardless of current events and regardless of whether it is played passionately.

Sporting events are neither important nor serious enough for the national anthem. No lives are at stake in sporting events. No serious national gain is achieved in a sporting event. The athletes are not participating in a military battle. They play for fun. Often, they play commercially, for money. It seems the national anthem is for after military or government victories, not for before sporting events.

Playing the national anthem at sporting events makes the events appear too formal, too official, and too rigid. Sporting events should be a time to relax and let go, away from the pressures of work and government. They should be a time to be more informal and unofficial.

The national anthem is not played for workdays, for movies, for TV shows, for bus rides, for airplane flights, for hikes, for many meetings, for meals, for motor vehicle rides to work, for court hearings, and for reading a work of literature. It seems it is not played at those times for the same reasons it shouldn't be played for sporting events.

The Star-Spangled Banner is not everything, and sporting events are not everything. Let's not make them look like everything.


First of all I would like to apologize to my opponent for forgetting to put in the sources I used. This was a simple forgetful mistake. He may continue reading here:

I have similar perspectives to sports as my opponent does. They are not very interesting to me, and I rarely watch them on TV, let alone attend them. Hopefully this should clear any possible bias my opponent may have suspected. Unless there are specific studies that show the purposes of people going to sporting events that my opponent can cite, it will be assumed that most of, if not all, spectators there are there because they want to be. The burden of proof otherwise is on my opponent.

Let's assume for the moment that there ARE lots of people there who do not want to be there. How does this relate to the national anthem receiving a negative connotation? Those who do not want to be there are probably less likely to want to engage in alcohol and other boisterous activities that would bring disrespect. So those who do not want to be there are not necessarily going to bring the anthem negative connotations or disrespect just because they may not want to hear it.

I also agree with my opponent that they are played routinely more than passionately. He also brings a good argument that sporting events are not significant enough for the anthem. However, my opponent has not stated why these are reasons to stop playing the anthem altogether at these events. Playing the anthem at large public gatherings is a peaceful way to unite all of the people in that stadium for a few minutes, as things can become very confrontational between fans during the game. It serves as a reminder that no matter who we are rooting for, we are all still American citizens. Regardless of whether it is played passionately or routinely, it is a good way to remind those in attendance that we are all still members of a great country. Playing it routinely will not necessarily dull its meaning over time.

I like to connect this to saying the Pledge of Allegiance at school or other events. Just because it is done routinely rather then with passion, does this mean that it should be stopped from being done completely? Just because it is not a formal event, does this mean that we should stop from honoring our country?

I personally see a bit of faulty connection when my opponent mentioned that the anthem is not played for movies, flights, bus rides, meetings, etc. These occurrences do not involve any sort of competition. Furthermore, things such as these are not done for entertainment, they are done for means of productivity. Sporting events, however, are not done for productivity, but for entertainment. Therefore, I do not think that these kinds of events can relate to playing the national anthem at sporting events.

I look forward to the final round of this debate!
Debate Round No. 4


We as a country should try to maximize our freedom by having as few obligatory commitments as possible. Committing ourselves, even for just 2 minutes per sporting event, to The Star-Spangled Banner adds up over time. A lot of lost potential is there. We as a country value and take pride in our freedom. Our country is well known for the freedom of its inhabitants.

The recent protests in which some NFL athletes kneel for the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner at football games are annoying and disrespectful. There are other ways the athletes can protest. Not everybody has the same political views as the protesting athletes, and their offensive actions make their games even more unattractive than they already were. If the national anthem was not played at football games, NFL athletes would not be given that opportunity to protest, and so their rude protests would not exist.

Some of the things I mentioned for which the national anthem is not played are not always done for entertainment, but some of them are sometimes done for entertainment. For example, workdays, meetings, motor vehicle rides to work, and court hearings are not always done for entertainment, but movies, TV shows, hikes, and reading a work of literature are sometimes done for entertainment. The national anthem is rightly not played for any of those things I mentioned in the previous round.

The Star-Spangled Banner is played too much. There is a better way to honor our country and ourselves. With the exceptions I've specified in my opening argument, The Star-Spangled Banner should not be played at United States sporting events.


My opponent begins by making an argument that we as citizens would have more freedom if the national anthem would not be played at sporting events. However, due to our current freedoms, there are no obligations that come with playing The Star-Spangled Banner at these events. People are free to choose whether or not they participate. If one does not wish to stand for the anthem, they can remain sitting. While this would be extremely disrespectful, it does come with our first amendment rights. Therefore, there are no commitments that come with playing the national anthem at sporting events, and people are able to choose freely whether or not they wish to participate.

I agree strongly with my opponent that the NFL protests are annoying, frustrating, and disrespectful. However, they are exercising their first amendment rights by doing so, again showing that there is no obligation that comes with playing the national anthem at sporting events. If we as a society were to discontinue playing The Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events, this would show some element of cowardice, something the United States is not, and does not, want to be known for. It would be giving in to these protesters who are being nothing more than disrespectful and unreasonable. We must not give in to this. We should hold fast to each other as a nation, and by playing the national anthem, we can do just that. Giving in should not be an option.

In conclusion, The Star-Spangled Banner should continue to be played at sporting events. It does not encourage disrespect, nor get dull over time. It is a great way to remind everyone present at the events that they are all American citizens, and it pays respects to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

I would like to thank my opponent for being very mature and respectful during this debate, and I wish him the best of luck!
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by EXOPrimal 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I voted for con because pro seems to make a lot of argument, but they don't all connect to his original thesis, for example his argument about how the star spangled banner would somehow become tedious when played at sporting events. So? I could not find a direct connection with the thesis on how this would be a reason not to play the anthem. This point was also a major focus of his actual argument, and pro continuously insists that sporting events are tedious and boring, though, as con pointed out, that may not be necessarily true. That is an opinionated statement, as was pointed out my con. Con sis have a very strong argument that the SSB should be played at sporting events because it unites the people at the events for a moment. Pro did not properly counter this argument. Pro's argument on how the star spangled banner implies violence was compelling, but again, did not connect to his argument. So what if SSB is violent and sporting events aren't? This lack of connection was critical

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