The Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill that would require the national anthem to be played before sporting events.
The bill, which passed 74-22 on Tuesday, received bipartisan support. Every Republican who voted supported the measure, while Democrats were split.
If the Republican-controlled Senate passes the bill, it would land on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers‘s desk. Should that happen, the bill would mandate that any sporting event held in a venue that was at least in part constructed using public money must play a pre-game national anthem.
“I think their next session is in June,” the bill’s Republican sponsor, state Rep. Tony Kurtz, told Fox News. “So, I think they would take it up, and maybe the governor can sign it on July 4. That would be pretty great.”
Questions have been raised about whether this mandate will apply equally to both small pick-up sporting games and large-scale events and how it will be enforced since the current legislation does not outline any penalties for violations.
State Sen. Patrick Testin, another sponsor of the bill (or the Star-Spangled Banner Act), said at the time it was introduced: “This tradition traces its roots back more than a century — even predating the song’s adoption as the national anthem. It’s a practice that unites us, and I believe it’s worth preserving.”
The national anthem has been played at professional sporting events for years, but with athletes kneeling during it, which was started by former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick, controversy emerged.
Athletes, once Kaepernick was out of the league, carried on his tradition, which he started to highlight his beliefs about systemic racism and police brutality.
Businessman Mark Cuban ordered his National Basketball Association team, the Dallas Mavericks, to stop playing the national anthem before games on Feb. 9. The NBA ordered the team to continue to play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at events, per “long-standing league policy.”
Author : Mike Brest