SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
July 03, 1972
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July 03, 1972


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The Kansas City Royals, who attempted to restore some significance to The Star-Spangled Banner by proposing to play it only on Sundays, holidays and special occasions, have changed their minds, as predicted (SCORECARD, June 19). Their capitulation drew the following reaction from a disappointed citizen:

"I do not agree that indiscriminate flag-waving is evidence of patriotism. When I was a boy in the 1930s the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner and the raising of the flag were thrilling moments. In sport, the anthem and the ceremonial raising of the flag were only for major events, like Opening Day or the World Series.

"Then, during World War II, baseball, self-conscious about continuing business as usual during wartime, began to play the anthem and raise the flag before every game in an attempt to equate baseball with patriotism. The custom continued and spread until now flag and anthem before an athletic event have about as much significance as shaking hands. The magic, the thrill, is gone.

"I have a neighbor who has flag decals on his car and who runs the flag up a pole in his front yard every day. I felt sorry for him on Memorial Day. That morning my little boy and I got our big American flag, which had been on my cousin's coffin, from the moth-balled box it is kept in, and ceremoniously went out on the front porch and hung it from the hooks that are always there for it. The flag on Memorial Day is rich in tradition and significance for my son; for my neighbor up the street it was just another day, same old Hag. We follow the tradition of an older time. Would you say that my father, growing up around the turn of the century, had less feeling for this country because the anthem and the flag were reserved for special occasions rather than every day? I don't think so.

"Obviously, some so-called traditions are not very old. For instance, The Star-Spangled Banner did not officially become the national anthem until 1931. And many loyal, patriotic citizens were distressed that it was chosen instead of the more stirring and significant America the Beautiful.

"I think we need less flag-waving and more attention to the Constitution. Do you know how many times the flag is mentioned in the Constitution? The superpatriots might check and see."


George Blanda, the hero of the geriatric football fan, is also the most vocal spokesman for pro football's right wing, as opposed to the Dave Meggyesy-Chip Oliver- Joe Namath freethinkers. Blanda has been traveling around the country promoting his new book and firing pungent opinions on almost anything he is asked. He criticized Namath's reported request for a million dollars over a three-year period by saying, "What has he done to make that much? He hasn't played for the last two years." He thought Joe Kapp was wrong to leave football because the NFL would not let him play without signing a standard contract. "I don't know how or why he could do that," said George. "Everybody has to live by some rules."

He does not support players' moves to liberalize the terms of the standard contract. "I am for the reserve or option clause. I am opposed to 90% of the things the Players' Association is for. I am against strikes in sports."

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