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Semi-Pro Team Announces It Won't Play National Anthem At Games

A general view of a soccer stadium from the vantage point of the goal.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

With ongoing nationwide protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, it is expected that some athletes will protest during the national anthem when games resume this summer.

Lately, American professional sports leagues and franchises have been supportive of their players' right to protest peacefully before games. Tulsa Athletic, a semi-pro soccer team in the NPSL Heartland Conference, has taken a different step though, deciding to no longer play "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games this season.

On Wednesday, Tulsa Athletic announced it would play "a new song of patriotism--“This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie--before all upcoming home matches.

"Tulsa Athletic’s mission is to create an inclusive community through the game of soccer. After carefully reviewing “The Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics and meaning, including the third verse which mentions “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…,” Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values," read the press release from Tulsa Athletic.

"While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe “The Star-Spangled Banner” represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community."

Fans and players are allowed and encouraged to sing along during the playing of “This Land Is Your Land."

"All forms of patriotic expression are welcomed and respected at Tulsa Athletic’s matches," the team said.