For Pete's Sake

‘Home of the Chiefs’ What is proper etiquette for singing of national anthem?

Fans cheer at the end of the national anthem at Arrowhead Stadium during a game earlier this month.
Fans cheer at the end of the national anthem at Arrowhead Stadium during a game earlier this month. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Let’s be clear from the beginning: this is not an attempt to take a side on the protests that have taken place in the sports world during the playing of the national anthem.

That subject has dominated the sports world since Friday when President Donald Trump said NFL players should be fired if they protest while the national anthem is being played.

It is a divisive issue to be sure, but little has been said about whether there is, or should be, an etiquette about the singing of the song.

In Kansas City, fans have changed the end of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to say “home of the Chiefs” rather than “home of the brave.”

Is this disrespectful or merely fans showing their support?

It’s become so common that you’ll hear it at Kauffman Stadium before Royals games, and elsewhere. Kansas coach Bill Self spoke out in 2012 about the student section singing “Chiefs” at Allen Fieldhouse.

“I don’t think it’s anything we should be proud about as students to carry that on, because I don’t see the place for it when you are honoring your country,” Self said.

For the most part, fans in Kansas City don’t seem concerned that the language of the national anthem is being changed.

They aren’t alone in having a unique version of the national anthem for home games.

Baltimore fans have a tradition of yelling out “O!” near the end of the national anthem as a way of showing support for the Orioles.

It comes here:

“O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

This is a ritual that started 40 years ago, and it has drawn little negative attention.

In Chicago, fans do even more screaming during the national anthem at Blackhawks games. The noise gets louder as the song continues.

NBC Sports said the practice began in the mid-80s. This has been a commonly accepted custom.

So what is the proper etiquette when the national anthem is being played, if any? Should fans change a single word? Is it acceptable to scream out while it’s being played?

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Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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