“We don’t use the national anthem in theaters and on Broadway, other events in the United States, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to have an anthem before a baseball, MLS game.”
Arena added: “Think about it in Major League Soccer. Most of the players standing on the field during the national anthem are international players, not even Americans.
“So why then do we play the national anthem? With all due respect, I live in the largest country in the world, but I think that’s inappropriate.”
‘I was in tears’
The song is set to a tune called “Anacreontic Song,” composed in the late 1700s by a man named John Stafford Smith. The song was associated with the Anacreontic Society, which was an amateur club of musicians and singers named after the Greek poet Anacreon.
The “Star Banner” was not actually accepted as the official anthem of the United States until 1931, although it was already popular by then and was already used by several American institutions.
“As a national team coach I was sometimes in tears with the national anthem,” said Arena, who coached the New England Revolution but coached the U.S. national football team on two separate occasions.
“It’s an honor to represent the United States at World Cups and international matches. I think playing the anthem is obviously appropriate at those levels.
“However, I question why we play national anthems at professional sporting events in our country.”
The country was at war, and it was just announced that baseball players would soon be sent to the army.
This game took place in Chicago, but the Red Sox mirrored their opponents in playing the song in sequential games.
Playing the national anthem at sporting events is seen as an opportunity to celebrate U.S. freedom and honor the victims of those who protected it.
Arena said it supports the right of people to kneel.
“Today I understand why people kneel,” he said. “We’ve seen it with women, we’ve seen it in the NFL and I think if they respect that, that’s appropriate.”
Speaking about her response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Arena added: “As an American and a white American, I am ashamed of the situation that in 2020 we have this kind of racism in our country.
“It’s no coincidence that some of these murders are happening. There are prejudices and racism. This is a time when people have to step up and defend what is right.”