(USNewsMag.com) – The Star-Spangled Banner was abandoned in this year’s US Open tennis championships as opposition to the national anthem grows. The anthem is usually played at the final of the men’s and women’s contests but was notably absent this year. Organizers announced, however, that the so-called “black national anthem” would be performed at the men’s final, along with “America the Beautiful.” The women’s final would feature only “America the Beautiful.”
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is known to some as a black alternative to the Star-Spangled Banner. The song was written by James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson and depicts life for black Americans in the late 19th century.
Critics of the established US national anthem say it promotes and supports slavery. Experts say the reference to the “hireling slaves” in the song refers not to slavery but to the British Crown’s practice of forcing Americans to fight in its wars. Furthermore, the verse containing the phrase was written out of the standard national anthem decades ago.
Social media users noted the absence of the Star-Spangled Banner, and many were furious at the continuing attacks on America’s identity. “It is very upsetting that so many of the people in this country are enjoying the wonderful freedoms we enjoy, to feel triggered by our flag or disparage our country while wishing for socialism or communism,” said one Twitter user.
Meanwhile, men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev played with no flag or country abbreviation by his name. The Russian must play under a neutral banner after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) banned players from competing for Russia. “Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and we commend the many tennis players who have spoken out and taken action against this unacceptable act of aggression,” the ITF said in a statement.
The US Open is one of four grand slam tennis tournaments each year and is held in Flushing Meadow, New York. This year’s victors were American Coco Gauff and Serbian Novak Djokovic.
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