Oklahoma soccer club to play ‘This Land Is Your Land’ instead of national anthem before games

Tulsa Athletic said it would no longer play the national anthem before its soccer games. (Source: Tulsa Athletic)

TULSA, Okla. (Gray News) - An Oklahoma soccer team has announced it will no longer play the national anthem before its games.

Tulsa Athletic, which competes in the National Premier Soccer League, said Wednesday it will instead play Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” before matches after reviewing the lyrics of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

“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…,’” the club said in a news release. “Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values. While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community.”

Co-owner Sonny Dalesandro said the Guthrie song “not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment but that it does so in a far more inclusive way.”

The club said players and fans are welcome to sing along to the song, and all forms of patriotic expression are still welcomed and respected at games.

Tulsa Athletic will begin this tradition before a game against Minneapolis City.

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