Things took a decided turn for the shockingly unpatriotic at the men’s and women’s finals in the U.S. Open over the weekend, as the U.S. national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, was not played before the finals matches. Instead, the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the “black national anthem” was played, as was “America the Beautiful.”
The tournament took place in New York, with, Coco Gauff defeating Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the women’s final match, and Novak Djokovic defeating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the men’s final match. The U.S. national anthem was not played before either match, though it was played before the tournament’s opening ceremonies.
Megyn Kelly drew attention to the missing anthem on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “No national anthem at the #USOpen – just a mixture of America the Beautiful & Lift Every Voice & Sing. This, as everywhere we are barraged with “50 years of equal pay!” reminders and Moderna signs. Can we just have a non-woke, non-agenda pushing men’s tennis championship?“
Former ESPN personality Sage Steele agreed with Kelly’s sentiment, saying, “Ahhh… the irony of refusing to allow our national anthem … at the *US* Open. I remain hopeful that we can get back to truly appreciating the greatness of America, but man…this is sad.”
Ms. Steele’s post caused a huge fight in the comments section, with many furious the anthem wasn’t played and others claiming that now only racists support the American national anthem, so they were glad it was gone.
On the pro-anthem side, one commenter said, “Could. Not. Agree. More. The level of hatred for our great Country makes me sick. There are so many other countries these pathetic losers can move to.” On the other side, one crazed commenter said, “Doesn’t bother me at all. White nationalists and their sympathizers have hijacked the anthem and flag. I feel very uneasy in neighborhoods where I see many Americans flags flying. Bars too… you all know what’s going on blame woke. You’re a sleeping Fraud.”
The organizers for the U.S. Open had announced on Aug. 27 that “America the Beautiful” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” would be performed before the men’s singles championship, with “America the Beautiful” also announced for the women’s singles championship, though that statement did not say that those songs would be played instead of the US national anthem.
The other incident from the finals that led to online controversy was when Coco Gauff, the women’s winner, celebrated her intense and hard-fought victory by getting on her knees and thanking the Lord. Disney-owned ESPN claimed on its Twitter account not that Ms. Gauff was giving thanks in prayer, but rather that “.@CocoGaufftook a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title “
That earned Sports Center a swift rebuke from former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who said, “I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not “soaking it all in” at this moment. She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here.”
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video