According to the Associated Press, there was a smattering of boos in Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas) last night during the national anthem for the match between FC Dallas and Nashville SC as players from both teams knelt in peaceful protest. Consequently, Reggie Cannon, Dallas FC defender, took exception to the hearing of the Bronx cheer by some fans.
Cannon expounded further on his displeasure of the unexpected sounds of raspberries by stating, “The players had asked that [the anthem] not be played before the game because they didn’t feel it was right for [it] to be played in this moment.” Cannon’s overweening response failed to take into account the fact that a certain level of obdurateness is necessary for public stances, especially in the presence of those who may be classified by others as the rearguard. Did he believe that the national anthem would just fade into oblivion?
A degree of democracy operated successfully because the patrons who may have still wanted to hear the national anthem were allowed to do so, and the athletes had their moment to kneel in commemoration of the atrocities in the deaths of George Floyd and others simultaneously. The most underrated aspect of this narrative is the fact that there were no acts of violence as a result.
In general, any athlete who expects a majority to recognize his/her point of view and have them respond with an esemplastic reaction by suddenly singing Kumbaya is quite unrealistic. There is still going to be a delay in the period of understanding for the reasons outlined by athletes in peaceful demonstrations whether the anthem is played or not. Also, some athletes have to be prepared for the realization that some individuals are just unwilling to ever be enlightened by the causes of others.
Nevertheless, total agreement is not an essential ingredient for civility amongst citizens of a nation. It is not too much to ask for fans in any stadium or arena to be urbane despite what may occur in the field of play. Of course, governance of these organizations and athletes have to realize that fans do have the option not to patronize sporting events no matter how limited attendance may be during a pandemic to voice their displeasure.
In conclusion, history should serve as a reminder of how perspectives can change over time. Muhammad Ali probably did not imagine going from exile for his stance during the Sixties to having the honor to light the flame of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Sacrifice was a better-understood concept in that era compared to the few moments of feeling uncomfortable by a few individuals who may endure today.