Tulsa soccer team replaces national anthem with “This Land Is Your Land”

Per Erin Christy:

Tulsa Athletic, semi-pro soccer team, says it will no longer play the Star Spangled Banner ahead of its home games, and will instead play “This Land is Your Land.” The owner says the third stanza of the anthem isn’t inclusive, and hopes other clubs follow suit.

USAToday reports Tulsa’s team in the semi-pro National Premier Soccer League has announced it will no longer play the U.S. national anthem at its home matches and will instead feature Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” as its designated “song of patriotism.”

A rarely sung third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” contains the line: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…”

After reviewing the lyrics, Tulsa Athletic officials did not feel the song “represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community,” according to a statement issued by the team on Wednesday.

“From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic,” said team co-owner Sonny Dalesandro. “We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voice. We utilize this right as a club to continually try and improve our team and community.”

Just last week, former U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bruce Arena said it was “inappropriate” to play “The Star-Spangled Banner” before sporting events.

With six home matches left in its season, the Tulsa Athletic team will take Arena up on his suggestion.