Last week in a letter to the editor, a writer pointed out the practice of fans of the Union and RPI hockey teams shouting during the national anthem.
The Union fans shout out “U!” (for Union) at the part of the anthem where it says “O say can you see. ...” The RPI fans, articulating the team color, shout “RED GLARE!” at the mention of “the rockets’ red glare.”
What the writer didn’t mention is that each time one fan base shouts out their part, the other team’s fans respond by shouting “SUCK!” as kind of a counter cheer.
For the past few months, the nation has been engaged in a debate about the appropriateness of protesting social issues by standing or kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
Some say it’s disrespectful to do anything other than sing along or stand reverently during the song.
Others say it’s perfectly legitimate for individuals to exercise their rights to free speech and to protest during a song honoring a country that grants us those rights.
But what everyone should be able to agree upon is that the shouting out of your team’s name or color, and the shouting back of the word “suck” at the other team’s fans, during the playing of the national anthem is neither an attempt at a legitimate protest nor a sign of reverence.
We understand that it’s just college kids having fun. But the practice is childish and disrespectful, and it takes away from the respect for our nation that others at the game are trying to express.
It’s time for these fans to grow up, and shut up, while the national anthem is playing.