Red Smith

National anthem controversies are nothing new; we just hit the 50th anniversary of two big ones

National anthem controversies are nothing new; we just hit the 50th anniversary of two big ones

With the continuing and unresolved issue of National Football League players kneeling (or remaining in the locker room) during the playing of the National Anthem before games, one is reminded of two incidents involving the anthem: Both occurred 50 years ago this month, during an unpopular war abroad and domestic unrest at home, and sparked loud reaction and widespread denunciation.

The first incident was the rendition of the National Anthem in a slow, “bluesy” manner by the Puerto Rican American pop singer Jose Feliciano before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series in Detroit, between the Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 7th. The second came nine days later on the...

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