A picture of firebrand Kari Lake, the Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate, seated during the presentation of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” has gone viral. One Twitter channel hosting the photo has garnered more than 6.6 million views in less than 24 hours.
Many are charging the rising star in the GOP, who is contesting the 2022 election results, with overt racism.
The NFL began playing the black national anthem before every game in 2020. According to Time, the NFL introduced the anthem in “an effort to reinforce the league’s professed newfound alignment with Black Lives Matter.”
Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs was hosted by the State Farm Arena in Glendale, Arizona, near Lake’s home. News crews spotted Lake in the stands. She arrived early and remained seated during the pre-game black national anthem presentation.
News commentators and social media influencers quickly referred to Lake’s refusal to stand during the anthem as disrespectful and racist. The backlash prompted Lake to respond.
Her gubernatorial Twitter account explained her actions: “Our girl is against the idea of a ‘black National Anthem’ for the same reason she’s against a ‘white National Anthem.’ She subscribes to the idea of ‘one Nation, under God.'”
Lake did stand for the American national anthem. The moving presentation of the song by country music star Chris Stapleton drew many to tears and was met with a standing ovation.
Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho tweeted that Eagles coach Nick Sirianni teared up as Stapleton sang:
“Eagles coach Nick Sirianni crying during the national anthem got me man… If you don’t feel this you don’t have a pulse!”
Kristen Rodgers, a news anchor for a Philadelphia station, agreed, adding: “Nick Sirianni is all of us listening to Chris Stapleton right now. Absolutely gorgeous rendition.”
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk wrote: “I wish our politicians loved America as much as Nick Sirianni does.”
An editorial piece in the Western Journal noted:
“The song [“Lift Every Voice and Sing”] … certainly has noble origins. But the reason for its inclusion before pro football games was anything but noble.
The ‘black national anthem’ was added as a concession to those who felt the ‘racist’ origins of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ didn’t represent them. Regardless of what song they chose, designating something as a ‘national anthem’ representative of only one racial group is nothing but divisive.”
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