The days when the Super Bowl was a unifying experience when all Americans regardless of race, class, color or creed could join together for the penultimate sporting event of the year may be a relic of the past with Sunday’s big game saturated by racial overtones thanks to the NFL.
Aside from the narrative of being a historic event, the first game pitting two black quarterbacks against each other for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, there was the soaring rendition of the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” or as it is more widely known, the “Black National Anthem” which was performed prior to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America’s REAL national anthem.
While the NFL slyly timed the alternate anthem prior to just before when most folks would tune in at 6:30 ET for the nationally televised broadcast, it generated much controversy anyway and the reaction of one prominent Republican, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake who was in attendance at State Farm Stadium near Phoenix spoke volumes.
The song which was performed by Sheryl Lee Ralph, one of the stars in the ABC comedy series “Abbott Elementary” kicked off an event that race-obsessed USA Today sportswriter Mike Freeman gloated was the “Blackest, most woke Super Bowl ever.”
.@thesherylralph with an incredible rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing". #SBLVII pic.twitter.com/3iho2kTssr
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2023
“We had the Black national anthem, Rihanna and two Black starting quarterbacks for the first time ever. This wasn’t the Super Bowl. This was Wakanda,” Freeman wrote in his postgame column, likening this year’s game to the fictional African black ethnostate depicted in the “Black Panther” Marvel Universe movie franchise.
This wasn’t the Super Bowl. This was Wakanda.@mikefreemanNFL writes on the celebration of Blackness that was #SuperBowl 57.https://t.co/uSTbOVqAX4
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) February 13, 2023
On Twitter, the multiple anthems had many users throwing a flag over the league’s perceived divisiveness.
“America only has ONE NATIONAL ANTHEM,” wrote Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) prior to the game. “Why is the NFL trying to divide us by playing multiple!? Do football, not wokeness.”
America only has ONE NATIONAL ANTHEM.
Why is the NFL trying to divide us by playing multiple!?
Do football, not wokeness.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) February 12, 2023
“No other country on Earth is ridiculous enough to permit different racial groups to perform their own national anthems before major events,” tweeted conservative commentator Matt Walsh.
No other country on Earth is ridiculous enough to permit different racial groups to perform their own national anthems before major events
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 13, 2023
“The @NFL is going to play a black national anthem before the Super Bowl. Seems racist and divisive” said actor Kevin Sorbo.
The @NFL is going to play a black national anthem before the Super Bowl. Seems racist and divisive.
— Kevin Sorbo (@ksorbs) February 12, 2023
“The “Black National Anthem” could be the single best example of corporate cowardice and shameless pandering in America history,” wrote radio host Gerry Callahan. “You have one national anthem or no national anthem. Roger Goodell is pathetic.”
The “Black National Anthem” could be the single best example of corporate cowardice and shameless pandering in America history.
You have one national anthem or no national anthem. Roger Goodell is pathetic
— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) February 12, 2023
“I grew up singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ during assembly in my all-black elementary school. We also sang the Star Spangled Banner and said the pledge. It’s a beautiful hymn, but I feel like it’s being used by people who think we need a new founding (1619), flag, and anthem,” said research fellow and The Blaze contributor Delano Squires.
I grew up singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during assembly in my all-black elementary school. We also sang the Star Spangled Banner and said the pledge. It’s a beautiful hymn, but I feel like it’s being used by people who think we need a new founding (1619), flag, and anthem. https://t.co/OCTbR3i2P2
— Delano Squires (@DelanoSquires) February 12, 2023
Additional reactions to the dueling national anthems:
There is no Black national anthem.
There is no White national anthem.
There is no Hispanic national anthem.
There is only THE National Anthem.
God Bless America! 🇺🇸
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) February 12, 2023
I will never stand for a Black National Anthem. I wouldn’t stand for a Brown or White National Anthem.
If you have to put race in front of an Anthem then you are racist.
I will only stand for America’s one and only National Anthem.
We are all Americans
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) February 13, 2023
The fact that there is a Black National Anthem proves that the ruling class has no intention of ever uniting this nation.
— Todd Peterson (@Todd_Peterson_1) February 12, 2023
“Black National Anthem” is an oxymoron. We are ONE nation under God. If you think otherwise, you’re in support of segregation. It’s that simple.
— Xaviaer DuRousseau (@XAVIAERD) February 12, 2023
The @NFL is making a huge mistake, in my humble opinion, by having "Lift Every Voice and Sing," what has traditionally been referred to as the "black national anthem," sung at the #SuperBowl. What more divisive message could be sent than to suggest we're a nation of two anthems.
— Darrell B. Harrison (@D_B_Harrison) February 9, 2023
I served in the military alongside black, white, Asians, Hispanics and other folks and we all saluted the same flag. We all sang one National Anthem. So this bullshit about black national anthem is a damn disgrace. Who want to attack me feel free I’m not scared of your ass.
— American Islandman (@N76247476Man) February 12, 2023
The game itself was chock full of more of the same “woke” propaganda including the racial slogans displayed in the end zones that have become intertwined with the NFL brand in recent years, first with the league’s tolerance for Colin Kaepernick and his fellow anthem kneelers and then put on steroids after Commissioner Roger Goodell bent the knee to Black Lives Matter while cities burned during the 2020 George Floyd riots, apologizing to the militant group in a message eerily resembling an ISIS hostage video.
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Sadly, the league has joined most other American institutions in allowing itself to be hijacked by those with an agenda that depends on dividing and conquering.
As for the game, a thrilling 38-35 Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Philadelphia Eagles marred by more questionable officiating, it will likely be remembered by many for the NFL’s embrace of flagrant racial divisiveness when it could have better used the opportunity to promote unity to the massive television audience for its showcase event.
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